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One Thousand Years Of Chinese Footbinding: Its Origins, Popularity And Demise

This is the first 1,000 characters of 3639 words (14.56 pages) in the essay titled One Thousand Years Of Chinese Footbinding: Its Origins, Popularity And Demise

One Thousand Years of Chinese Footbinding: Its Origins, Popularity and Demise

March 7, 1998

In addressing the subject of footbinding, one primary difficulty becomes apparent - that much remains within the realm of the unknowable. Any factual knowledge about the practice may only be drawn from 19th- and 20th-century writings, drawings or photographs. In addition, many of these documents represent a distinctly Western point of view, as they are primarily composed of missionary accounts and the literature of the various anti -footbinding societies.[1] The historical origins of footbinding are frustratingly vague, although brief textual references suggest that small feet for women were preferred as early as the Han dynasty. The first documented reference to the actual binding of a foot is from the court of the Southern Tang dynasty in Nanjing, which celebrates the fame of its dancing girls renowned for their tiny feet and beautiful bow shoes.[2] The practice apparently became the st...

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