LifeStyle, Other, Style

5 ancient beauty customs THANK GOD it stopped

beauty "Theatre school's model student" by Ellen Catleen - Catleen (Thorbecke), Ellen (1934) Peking Studies, Kelly and Walsh, Shanghai, China. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Old is gold. We all agree on that, and most of us had been in a point where our grandmothers told us something that turned to be beneficial by time

BUT, not everything coming from the glorious past is right; actually sometimes it might hurt you real real bad!


Exactly like the following beauty practices


1 – Lotus Feet

Looks like a peaceful name right? Well . Imagine your feet having to grow in only 10 cm space for the sake of beauty!

Not so peaceful anymore, ha

Foot binding is the practice of applying a painful tight binding to the foot in order to prevent its growth



Yaoniang binding feet” by Wang Hui 王翙 (1736-1795) – Illustration from Sexual Life in Ancient China, Van Gulik 1961, originally a woodblock print from Qing Dynasty. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

It all started in China

when the Emperor Li Yu “last emperors of fifth dynasty”

made a 6 feet tall golden lotus decorated with pearls and asked his mistress Yao Niang to bind her feet in the shape of crescent moon by white silk bandage and Dance on the tips of her toes like a lotus

Actually her performance was so exquisite that she “skimmed on top of golden lotus”

And the Emperor expressed his delight and affection by saying: “lotus springs from her every step!”


Historic findings say that feet binding already existed with the beginning of the fifth dynasty,

but it was densely imitated by upper class ladies after Yao Niang performance and became more popular in Song dynasty


Now the application wasn’t easy at all,

For the ideal foot had to be:

1-No longer than three inches. –That’s 10 cm’s in western measurements!-

2-The cleft between the heel and the sole should be 2-3 inches deep. –Meaning the foot had to be severely bent-

3-The foot should appear as an extension of the leg rather than a stand for the body. 



Theatre school’s model student” by Ellen Catleen – Catleen (Thorbecke), Ellen (1934) Peking Studies, Kelly and Walsh, Shanghai, China. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.


In order to achieve such extreme requirements, the process had to start in early

age ‘4 to 9 years’, before the foot arch takes its
The feet were soaked in warm mixture of herbs and animals blood to soften it, then toes were curled under, pressed downwards and squeezed into the sole of the foot until the toes broke.

The broken toes were held tightly against the sole while the foot was drawn down straight with the leg and the arch of the foot was forcibly broken

It doesn’t stop there,

Other that having disfiguring results, list of health issues included serious infections because of nails in-grow

recurrent fractured feet bones , muscle atrophy and sometimes paralysis!


GebundenFuss” by Book by Ernst v. Hesse-Wartegg (-1918) – Aus „China und Japan“ von Ernst v. Hesse-Wartegg (Verlagsbuchhandlung von J. J. Weber in Leipzig, 1900.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.


Why did they bear all that?

No pain, No gain. It’s beauty honey!

They believed beautiful women had to have small feet; also they believed rich women don’t need their feet to work so they can afford having them bonded!

And being beautiful and rich mean you are suitable for marriage which was the ultimate goal for women those days


It was estimated that by 19th century, about 40% of Chinese women had bound feet and 100% of women in upper class!

In 1912, the republic of china government banned foot binding, and many movements engaged in campaigns against foot binding and it was very successful in many regions

By 1999 the last the last shoe factory making lotus shoes, Zhiqiang Shoe Factory in Harbin, closed.



Stay tuned for the next bizarre beauty technique ! 

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