Pair of Black Plum Blossom Lotus Slippers

c. 1850
$228 USD
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Dimensions
W: 2.0" D: 6.25" H: 2.5"
Materials
Silk
Cotton
Purchase Quantity
Collection #
PR0013YY
Estimated Shipping
$15

These pointed slippers, beautifully embroidered with light blue plum blossoms on black silk, were shaped to resemble a lotus bud and enhanced the diminutive shape of bound feet. A practice that began in the Tang dynasty and reached the height of its popularity during the Qing dynasty, foot binding was a painful process intended to make a woman's feet as small as possible by restricting bone growth from an early age. The smaller the feet the more attractive and erotic they were, giving elite women a mark of elegance and a distinctive - albeit tortured - gait of small, light steps. These beautifully preserved lotus slippers give us a glimpse into this curious practice and the complicated role fashion played in gender identity throughout China’s past.

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