Splendid Slippers
Splendid Slippers: A Thousand Years of an Erotic Tradition

New printing of the popular book
by Beverley Jackson

x-ray 1 Red Shoe from China red high heel x-ray

A thousand years ago in China, the curious custom of breaking and binding the feet into the shape of a pointed lotus bud began. Since then, generations of women and girls have tottered through life on three- to four-inch "lotus" feet encased in exquisitely embroidered, excruciatingly tiny "lotus" shoes.

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author with woman having lotus feetIn the years 1995 and 1996 I visited remote areas of southwestern Yunnan province in China doing research for my book Splendid Slippers. Although I had been touring China since February 1975, these trips proved to be the most fascinating adventures of all. author with lotus foot woman With guide, driver and two translators we took back roads and paths on foot in areas of the lower Himalayas to find little enclaves of Han Chinese women and Minority People who tottered about working the fields and leading normal lives on feet that had been bound to 3-1/2 to 5 inches for as much as seventy years. We encountered warm friendly peasants who had never seen a westerner before. Never heard of the United States of America or even Beijing or Shanghai. My interviews conducted through the translators were heartwarming. In 1999 I returned to the area carrying my finished book to show such women as the one pictured here who has just ridden on the back of her grandson's bike to a doctor 35 miles away to have her injured ankle checked. Note the wonder she displays as she studies the poster for my new book about bound feet such as hers.

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Entire contents © copyright 2001 by Beverley Jackson. All rights reserved.