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China - Essay Example

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The Neolithic period in china is believed to have begun in 10,000 BC and concluded years later, with the introduction of metallurgy (Department of Asian Art, metmuseum.org). This period was characterised by the increase of settled communities. During this time, the Chinese…
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Download file to see previous pages... In regard to records written about foot binding in China, the first records belong to the Han dynasty. Later records on the practice are believed to have emerged a millennium later during the Song dynasty. Chen however asserts that “though popularized in the Song, legends traced foot binding back to the Shang dynasty” (14).
The Shang dynasty succeeded the Xia dynasty, which is usually associated with the beginning of civilization in China. It is however not clear when the Xia dynasty came to power. The elites who ruled China during the Shang dynasty are believed to have been descendants of the Neolithic peoples of China. Among the myths formulated about foot binding in China, one of them originated from the Shang dynasty. In regard to myths on why foot binding became a national obsession in China, Robertson points out that “one legend attributed its origin to the Shang Dynasty (1700-1027 BC) that one of the daughters of the Emperor was born with a club foot and he decreed that the Court ladies should have their feet bound to reduce their size” (15).
Although myths had it that women had their feet bound to be able to perform the lotus dance well, this was not the real reason behind the practice. The real reason behind the practice was to satisfy the male obsession of getting sexually aroused by a woman who swayed her hips well. According to Robertson, “the feet were bound to deliberately deform them into the shape of a ball so the woman had no choice but to sway on the deformed ball shape feet” (15). Foot binding reduced the size of the foot to only 4 inches (Robertson 15). During bedtime, the deformed feet were covered using special slippers. The erotic arousal that the bound feet gave to the men was similar to that brought about by the breasts.
When foot binding began, it was only practiced by the rich families and the elite in the Chinese society ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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