A pair of embroidered shoes designed for bound feet. PHOTO BY BERKSHIRE PUBLISHING.
Foot-binding was a custom in which girls’ feet were bound with tight bandages so that they would grow to only about 8 centimeters long. Originally conferring femininity and social status to upper-class women, the practice spread to lower-class women seeking opportunities for upward mobility.
The Chinese custom of foot-binding, which may have originated in the court of