Chinese Bound Feet

Chinese Shoes for Bound Feet

Binding young women's feet was a tradition that was highly developed in imperial China. Foot binding is a painful process that began when a woman was about five years old. A bandage two inches wide and ten foot long was wrapped around the foot in a figure of eight pattern so that the arch is compressed and the four smaller toes were bent under. The foot was then forced into a shoe several sizes too small. Over a two year period tighter and tighter bandages and smaller and smaller shoes were used until the desired effect was achieved. The bones broke, pus filled sores developed, the flesh putrefied and sometimes a toe dropped off. The ideal called the golden lotus was a foot measuring no more than 3 inches.

A woman with bound feet could not walk unaided. She was confined to her quarters where her faithfulness was assured.
Chinese men found these deformed, foul smelling feet erotic. As standard foreplay, a chinese husband would gently remove his wives shoes and un swathe her feet. The bandages sometimes held wives secure in acts of bondage and the broken arch of the foot was seen and even substituted at times for the vagina.
In this society foot binding was a means of demonstrating the status of the woman in the eyes of a man, by methods of extreme physical restriction.


Displaced Shoe

High heeled shoes are perceived as an exclusively female image. They can have an effect of emphasising vulnerability and dependence, but they also reflect the status of the wearer and demonstrate the shoe aa a weapon. Shoes are fetish objects - just browse through the numerous foot/shoe web sites.
I wanted the shoes I made to reflect a sense of unease, whilst acknowledging the sexual aspect of the subject. The blond hair surrounds and protects the insole, decorated with broken red glass shards.