Friday, June 15, 2007

Bound for Beauty

*Please don't look further if you are squeamish!*

A few months ago I wrote about bound feet and the amazing women that are becoming a vanishing breed. Recently, a friend emailed me some pictures to ask about the process, and sent me these photos. Most of the women with bound feet are now in their 80's. Once they are gone, living history will move to history books. Here's to keeping their stories alive:

The process started around age 6, but many times earlier. Small feet were seen as attractive, and so, the smaller the better. A good footbinder could reach the goal of 4-6 inches in length. The process involved breaking the bones in the feet so that the feet could be folded as pictured below. (in half, with the toes folded under)

(Excuse the blurred face, but I thought it appropriate.)

Photos by Michael Yamoshita






7 comments:

Charity Singleton said...

Stacy -- This post reminded me of all the things we do to ourselves in the name of the beauty, things that will someday seem as harsh and outlandish as foot binding when we are in our resurrected bodies and finally beholding the One true source of beauty.

Craver Vii said...

This is so heartbreaking. I feel terribly for the ladies who have had to endure such a thing.

Mark Goodyear said...

I've heard of this. And even seen pictures before. But it is still... well, I'm shocked.

The blurred face makes the series of pictures seem almost iconic. The woman becomes the archetype of all women with bound feet. Maybe all women who are bound in any way.

And what a gift she gave you in allowing you to take these pictures. They feel very intimate.

Mark Goodyear said...

Obviously, I meant the pictures that your friend took, not you...

TCC said...

Wow. I heard of this but never saw it. Wow.

This Eclectic Life said...

That breaks my heart to see. Was the foot binding only done on women of the upper class? I don't see how a woman who really had to work could function with that deformity. Who in the world decided that this was a standard of beauty!

Anna said...

WOW, I have never seen anything like that and I am completely speechless. I am so glad that you were able to share these photos.