Foot binding was the custom of applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to modify the shape and size of their feet. The practice possibly originated among upper class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in 10th century China, then gradually became popular among the elite during the Song dynasty. Foot binding eventually spread to most social classes by the Qing dynasty and the practice finally came to an end in the early 20th century.
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Westerners think they know all about geishas, those delicate Japanese women with their virgin milky white faces accented by a jarring pop of red lipstick, their feet sitting in clacking wooden sandals and their bodies wrapped in kimonos that cost more than a Lexus. But it is in Gion that visitors can embrace the gentility and hospitality of the geishas, which is a far cry from the sordid image Westerners had of them during and after World War II. What do you do?
Some think they look dolls. By en large men are supposed to admire but not touch. She has made herself into the image of the perfect woman, the embodiment of Japanese culture and refinement, a living work of art," wrote Jodi Cobb in National Geographic.
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A year-old woman, who has bound feet, has her toenails cut by her daughter in Jiukou county of Zhongxiang city in central China's Hubei province June 28, SCMP Pictures Like opium dens, sedan chairs and bat-winged junks, women with bound feet were once stereotypical to China. Deliberately crippled to conform to male ideals of beauty, these strange, pathetic creatures - to Western eyes - embodied the mysterious ways of the East.
The process of binding feet also known as "lotus feet" started before the arch had a chance to fully develop — somewhere between the ages of 4 and 9. It was considered better to get someone who wasn't your mum to do it: They were less likely to bind them sympathetically loose. There were various attempts to ban the tradition from the s, but it didn't die out until the early 20th century.