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VINTAGE CLOTHES & ACCESS > VINTAGE SHOES
This interesting pair of antique Chinese bound feet shoes date to the Qing Dynasty,
likely late 19th or early 20th century.
This particular pair of Lotus, or Lily shoes as they are sometimes called, have never
been worn and remain attached (sewn) together with their original string.
Likely intended for a special occasion they are made of a fine silk brocade in a
harder to find, not often seen color that I will call Golden Almond or Golden Cream.
Unfortunately this color does not show to advantage in our images, appearing a lighter
cream, rather than the actual rich, lustrous golden almond/cream., probably best
represented in our 2nd image. The silk, which has rich luster and sheen, is embroidered
in a stylized floral motif of deep red lotus flowers with green leaves. Throats
are decorated with a very fine braided lace detail that appears to be hand made.
Interiors are lined in cream linen, with matching linen covered insoles. Outer soles
are formed of brown leather and remnants of a paper label remain attached to one.
Stacked leather heels appear to be attached with small brass studs.
The antique shoes are in very nice unused, never worn condition. The silk remains
soft and supple, with no apparent age related issues common to this antique fabric,
such as splitting or deterioration. There is some wear to the silk on the very front
point of each shoe, slightly more to one than the other and likely occurring from
contact with something during years of storage. Due to overall light color of the
shoes this is not a readily apparent, glaring type of issue, but there and detectable
upon close inspection. Linen lined interiors also remain in similar exceptional
nice condition, with only a light, possible moisture mark to one insole near the
heel area. See image #4. As mentioned, the shoes have never been worn, so the leather
soles are in wonderful condition, appearing, I am sure, very much as they did when
newly made, about 100 years ago.While binding women's feet seems quite strange to
the Western world, it was a fairly common practice among the Chinese for thousands
of years. Although formally banned in 1911 I understand that the custom continued
well into the 20th century. Research indicates that an estimated 2 million Chinese
women, most over the age of 70, still live with bound feet today.
San tsun gin lian, meaning Golden Lotus or Lily, is synonymous for bound feet. The
Lotus flower symbolized purity and fruitfulness.