The tradition, known as foot binding, eventually came to symbolize China's backwardness, a relic from the country's distant past. Foot Binding. Foot binding was the Chinese custom of applying tight wrappings to the feet of young girls to modify their shape and size. Foot binding was important among the people in China for it was used to show the beauty of Chinese culture as well as to show the high class of the people. Ancient China for Kids. At that age, bones are still composed of pre-bone cartilage and were easier to break and mold. It required breaking the arch of the feet, and tying up the feet, causing them to curl up into stumps regarded as beautiful and sexually exciting to men. Footbinding was banned in 1912, but some women continued to do it in secret. But despite … The process used to create bound feet was painful and uncomfortable. A foot binding ceremony was usually performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 6. Foot binding in China was a practice that involved systematically wrapping a woman’s foot in cloth bandages over a period of years, forcing it to grow in a particular way. Legend says that foot binding began in Shang times. The women who were from the high social class could have their feet bound since they did not have to work. FOOT BINDING IN CHINA. Footbinding was banned in 1912, but some women continued to do it in secret. So, foot binding started with the royal court and then spread throughout China, beginning in the south of the country and soon reaching the north. By … The process of foot binding was lengthy and excruciating. Foot binding among wealthy women Foot binding was performed on women through the 20th century. Millions of Chinese women bound their feet, a status symbol that allowed them to marry into money. Other stories say foot binding began during Tang times. This usually left women unable to walk properly and was extremely painful. Generally practiced in China between the 10th and 19th centuries, the practice spanned five dynasties. In the 12th century, foot binding became much more widespread, and by the early Qing Dynasty (in the mid-17th century), every girl who wished to marry had her feet bound. Whenever it started, it was a barbaric practice. Some of the last survivors are still living in a village in Southern China. Young girls, between the age of 5-7, had their toes tucked under their feet, and then had their feet wrapped in long pieces of cloth to hold their toes in place. 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 . For almost a millennium, the practice of foot binding was prevalent across Chinese society, starting with the wealthier classes but over the years … Painful Memories for China's Footbinding Survivors. 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