A Thousand Years of Bound Feet
Footbinding is the largest fashion movement of female-body-reform in human history. It is a process of Oriental women aspiring after beauty, body performance, self-demonstration, art creation, and body art. It had been through thousands of years and had become a series of “Golden Lotus” culture under the conventional customs that men and women can’t closely contact at random. Body art performance provides the best and the strongest means for women to collect eye contact. Understanding the footbinding custom helps people realize all sorts of body cultures. It’s a process through thousands of years that women had created and renewed the accessories(腿飾); the broadest, exquisite decorations on legs, feet, and the lower part of the bodies(腿、腳、下身裝飾) showed not only the outfits but also the shapes of the feet. Therefore, it affects the way women lived, behaved, and destiny of all nations. Footbinding custom makes human accessories on legs and calfs to the climax. In world history, many kinds of body arts appear in aboriginal races, but most of them appear locally and shortly. There must be something special for footbinding custom broadly and long-lasted in China, a nation with such a long history. But it’s bewildered that the custom had been stylish through thousands of years, most of people were not aware of the relics and even not written in books. Footbinding is kind of the living fossil which truly and simply performs women’s life style thousand years ago. Chinese have been through the great revolutions of culture, body, sex life of two genders, ethnic family relationships, and family lives; but the women’s life style a hundred of years ago suddenly became under table.
Footbinding is a taboo in modern times. Lots of information is not clear, plenty of historical truths are covered, denial becomes a collective behavior against the custom, and some try to erase the whole memories. Based on little information, footbinding women couldn’t admit the motive and positive reasons, so when people are trying to study the custom, only anti-footbinding information could be quoted and cited. We lack the records of people who really witness or hear from the footbinding women.
Studying footbinding behavior sometime turns out to be searching a common history of ethnic groups and keeping the common life styles, behavior patterns, and then the distinguishing features among different groups. Footbinding could be differently defined among groups; it could be a fashion, the ethics, and a life style. Different Chinese areas give different definitions; which might refer to wealth in Guangdong; which might be the symbol of traditional Han women in Yunan; which might represent the ladies of upper echelon in Fujian and Taiwan; which might take the tiny feet for granted in Shaanxi; which might divide Man from Han race in Hebei. It might be prevailing in Yangzhou in Ming Dynasty; it was popular in Sichuan in Ming Dynasty, but suddenly down fell in Qing Dynasty; it increased in the Northeast China in the later period of Qing Dynasty, which meant Han people gradually immigrated. Dynasties and military situation have altered in Chinese history, but women’s life styles barely changed. If we judge men’s world with politic events, the success or failure in imperial examinations and wars; why can’t we define women’s history with their own idea of value? The value is the size of their feet and the decorations of their lotus shoes. The decorations can fully express women’s lives and conventional social conditions. Footbinding cloths were used for protecting the soles of the feet in the beginning, and then the cloths became tighter than ever and the feet became finally contracture. Thousand years since women have made their feet sharp; now it unexpectedly turns out to be the worldwide model. Women wear harp-hip high heels.
Beauty needs long-term constructions. Try to change harshly is skin deep. Bound feet are very exquisite and spend very long time. They are just like wearing high heels, ballet shoes, or skating shoes; the shoes restrict some walking abilities and actions, but improve the gestures and rhythms of body. At the age of footbinding, women thought properly change the shape of their feet as an important life standard, simply equal to women wear makeup or everybody needs to go to school in our times. Modern people find that nice makeup, deportment, and body arts can change life and destiny, but Chinese women took them as key points to cultivate their moral characters a thousand year ago. The understandings toward beauty, pain, enduring, and their bodies a thousand years ago were impressive and pathbreaking. Body and deportment are changeable. Morality, bisexual relationships, and family conditions could be improved through changing their bodies; it is like humans discover that knowledge can change lives and everything.
Footbinding was a culture crossing the division of ethnic groups in old times. Although different area defined and explained differently, it was truly a stylish, strong, and powerful new culture. In some areas only Han women accepted the custom; in some areas, it gradually affected other women because of intermarriage and interchange; in some areas, it was modeled more seriously than Han people. Although battles have occurred on land or in the north, west, southwest for years, whatever win or lose, merged or be merged, Han culture is still the best and the most admirable culture in China. Cultural relics, decrees and regulations, rules, and literatures of Han ethnic are worth imitating. Footbinding has the same influence and even much more effective than military threats. Is it really worth learning? Footbinding seems to be an important cultural representation, and almost the symbol of Han culture. Confucianism and footbinding were the indexes to estimate if the frontier races were “Han-lized” or not around the Chinese neighborhood. From Song to Qing Dynasty, Chinese territory became larger and the custom gradually influenced the aboriginals. Races which accepted the custom would be regarded as Chinese. Footbinding didn’t spread through a violent cultural suppression but what Chinese defined “assimilation.” During thousand years, footbinding custom blended in female cultures among ethnic groups, and spread into Northeast China, Taiwan, Yunan, Guuzhou, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia.
Footbinding was once a multi-group cultural blending. It came up in the period of great prosperity of South China and declined when western culture invaded in. In the period that Han people established the capital in the south, the nomadic regimes could govern people, but they were not strong enough to change Han culture. But western culture made it. China has been the most prosperous state in the world and embraces the top fashion style for other nations to imitate. But compared with the west, western culture defeated Chinese by the broader life style; it was probably the reason why footbinding disappeared. From 1659 to 1664, a Spanish missionary, Domingo Navarrete, described “The footbinding custom tends to keep women staying home, if it’s not confined in China, the custom will spread to the world and all men and women will be benefited.” During three hundred years, western countries made great progress due to Industrial Revolution, French revolution, and the rise of capitalism. On the contrary, China began to recess during the period of prosperity of Qianlong Emperor. Western culture became the model and target for the orient people to imitate and admire after the development and combination of European and American countries. The cultural strike failed and made footbinding disappeared. The footbinding liberation movement started from trading harbors to the interior lands, from open areas to the conservative areas. Footbinding was the symbol and the mark of Chinese culture, but defeated by western culture. East and west were rarely contacted until ocean-route sailing started at 18th century; the stable, Asian China maintained the footbinding custom to the late period of Qing Dynasty. When the national consciousness and confidence reduced, every behavior was thought of and marked barbarian and backward.
For three hundred years, the earlier and the later Han immigrants brought the custom to Taiwan. In Han period of prosperity, footbinding was regarded as gorgeous, high-classed, civilized, and moral. In the 17th century, the French, Paris businessman made the first high heel and named it “China Shoes” in accordance with the lotus-shoe pictures on the china exporting to France. The “China” represented not the nation but the material and the shoes were highly supported by French ladies of upper echelon. At the late period of Qing Dynasty, western technology, military equipments, and economy overrode China; footbinding was suddenly viewed as obsolete, torturing, stubborn, and conservative. This special mark of Han culture for thousands of years is necessary to be clarified and descendants can realize what the ancestors did and help the world to understand the Han people and culture.
Recently, the world is devoting preserving all sorts of wild animals, but we don’t tolerate diverse customs. We don’t appreciate different ways of culture and education of pursuing beauty, and human society becomes monism. We need to think it over.
Chapter 2 Source of Footbinding
Footbinding rooted in China and became the symbol of Chinese. It was a system that followed and respected the ancestors. Old systems and regulations were maintained by footbinding and led to be a living fossil. The custom was the largest body decoration movement and affected two billions of women during a thousand year. It came from Han people. The concept that “Men take care of jobs and women manage family affairs,” “Be hard-working and modest,” and the way that parents educated their daughters deeply have influenced Chinese since thousands of years of their ways of living, customs, sexual relationships, family lives, and even the development of the entirel nation.
When did footbinding begin? Although people have different viewpoint in history, it should not be originated by one single person, place, or time. It’s supposed to be a social development. Women thought it convenient to use cloths instead of socks while wearing shoes. The book “Textual Research from Time Immemorial(古今事物考)” indicated that the origin was from Lady Daji, the Emperor’s favorite woman, in Shang Dynasty. According to the legend, Lady Daji is an ogre transformed from a fox. She covered her feet because her feet didn’t transform to human feet yet, and the women in the imperial palace imitated her. In the book “Mysteries of Chores” recorded a saying of describing the praise to the bound feet, “Liang Shang girls with their feet of 8 cun, soles are flat and bound in the cloths.” 8 cun in Han Dynasty is about 15cm, it’s really tiny that eight cun feet compared with modern women’s feet of 22cm. Some people take the two books as the evidence to prove that the origin of footbinding is in Han Dynasty. However, the two books were written by the people in the later dynasties. It’s weak to be the evidence. A musical composition “Footbinding of two feet” in Liu Dynasty said, “Feet bound with silk, embroidery cloths and toes are bound gorgeously; if people don’t appreciate my sacrifice, I am the only one knowing the suffering.” In the composition, we may understand women at that time simply wrapped their feet with cloths. In “Nang Shi,” “Duke Donghu Note,” recorded “Duke Donghun curves Golden Lotus on the ground and makes his lover Lady Pan walk on them; he names the footprints of Golden Lotus.” The description of Lady Pan didn’t refer to her feet but the footprints; it seemed not to be the evidence of the origin. But some people consider it might be the origin of the name “Golden Lotus.”
Footbinding was supposed to be widespread in a luxury and prosperous time; firstly adopted by noble families, entertainers to the normal people. In Tang Dynasty, the legends and poems describing footbinding were plenty. Many scholars take the imperial concubine, Lady Yang, as the evidence. “Langhuan Note,” written by Yi Shizhen in Yuan Dynasty pointed out that when Lady Yang died at Mawei Slope, a woman picked up a sock of Lady Yang. She made a fortune by exhibiting the sock. Her daughter Yufei also found a “Sparrow-tip Shoe”, which stitched pearls on the shoe and padded sandalwood in the sole. The totally length was three feet and Yufei saw it as priceless treasure. It was interesting that when the Emperor came back after the war, he knew the matter that his lover lost a sock and made up “Epigraph of Lady Yang lost Her Sock,” “Sock is elegant and shaped in circle; it is like the hook on the ground and the moon in hands.” 群談采余also made a poem “Lady Yang’s Sock,” “The fairy is gone, but the sock left on the Mawei Slope; what a pity that the size is not smaller than three cun, and people find it all over the nation.” According to the descriptions, we may find that Tang Dynasty people praised the accessories as well as the shoes. However, the works were made up by those writers in the later dynasties.
From the works written by poets and intellectuals in Tang Dynasty, we may realize the situation of footbinding in Tang Dynasty. The poem of Du Mu, “鈿尺裁量減四分纖纖玉筍裹清雲武陵少年欺他醉笑把花前出晝裙.” The other poem “Praise the Shoes Tucking in the Blankets,” mentioned that women wrapped their feet in the shape of crescent and wore sleeping shoes(睡鞋) for men to appreciate and touch. The poem of “Brocade Shoes,” written by Wen Tingyun, directly pointed out the footbinding situation; in Bai Juyi’s poems, also mentioned “Women wear tiny shoes and fit clothes, their eyebrows are thin and fine; women will be laughed at if they don’t put the makeup on. It is the fashion style in the last period of Tianbao,” which represented that at the late period of Tianbao (742~756B.C.), sharp-tip shoes were stylish and women wore the shoes must be with tiny feet.
Tang relics are discovered many earthen figures. Male figures are little and arrowed-feet尖小弓足, female ones are tiny shoes with fit clothes. The male figures were discovered in Shanxi province in Tang Dynasty. The vivid dance style was from the middle-Aisan ethnic groups and
The first scholar to research the source of footbinding textually was Zhang Jibang in Song Dynasty. In his book “Casual Note in the Black Farmstead,(墨莊漫錄)” expresses that “women start footbinding in our time and it could not be found in the ancient dynasties. But ‘News of Daoshan’ indicated the Emperor of Nantang built a tall stage and demanded his ladies dance on the stage with bound feet and white socks. The feet were bound in the shape of crescent and floated like in the clouds. In ‘Tang Hao,’ it said ‘Because of the ladies in the palace bind their feet, normal women imitate them and see tiny feet as noble.’” The saying was broadly adopted and mostly considered believable point. The custom started at Nanjing, the capital of Nantang. But if we carefully reconsider it, the saying has certain bugs. The capital Nanjing is a warm and moist place, basically not suitable for the footbinding. In the period of Nantang, turmoil and wars occurred a lot, bound feet were not easy to flee from calamity. The Emperor Li Yu was the advocator of commonalty and new culture; he might publicize the custom popular around the Qinhuai River. 窅娘It’s freezing and dry for footbinding in the north, sat leg-crossed on the kang, the heatable brick bed, was usual and polite. Walking turned to be a social skill. Sat on the kang mostly but barely walked would possibly be a breeding ground of footbinding.
In Song Dynasty, the evidence of footbinding is more. In North Song Dynasty, Xu Ji described the women Cai Zhang, “She plants a pine tree and makes the dust filled with her body; why does she bind her feet? It’s still good for her to take exercise more.” It seemed to be out-dated without bound feet at that time. The novelists in North Song Dynasty started describing the bound feet with “Golden Lotus.”
Before Shenzong Emperor, North Song Dynasty, footbinding was not in vogue, but after the period, footbinding was widespread. However, some intellectuals opposed to the cruel custom. “Jiao Qi Ji, “ written by Che Ruoshui, indicated that “When did the custom start? Little children start binding their feet before the age of four or five and make them endure such pain. What is bound feet used for?”
Bound feet are inconvenient for walking. When Jin Dynasty invade Song Dynasty and forced Song move to the south, the demerit appeared. The article “鶴林玉露” mentioned the awkward situation of footbinding women escaping. After moving to the south, footbinding spread and the book “楓窗小牘” written by a hundred-year-old man, indicated that when Song Dynasty came to the south, people also brought a medicine which is useful and effective for footbinding, called “ Thin Golden Lotus Prescription” to the south. The Jin people also imitated footbinding as well. Recently graves of Song Dynasty have been found. In Huang Sheng Grave, the official in Song Dynasty, people found his wife’s relics. His wife died at the age of 17 and her body is still with footbinding cloths. The length is 210cm and the width is 9cm. There are nine shoes in the grave, the lengths are between 13.3 to 14cm, and the widths are between 4.5 to 5 cm. The tips are sharp and up-wrapped. In De’an County, Jianxi province, the Zhou Grave is discovered that Zhou died in 1274 at the age of 35, her husband Wu Chou was the judge of Taiping State. Her body was about five cun and the toes up-wrapped; it is apparently that the feet were bound before death. In Qu State, Zhejiang, the grave of Shi Yingzu and his second wife Yang, we find a pair of silver lotus shoes of his first wife, Luo Shuangshuang. Shi Yingzu was a scholar and died in 1274. The length us 14cm, the width is 4.5cm, and the height is 6.7cm of the silver shoes. The soles were curved the name of the first wife. Take the first wife’s silver shoes to bury along with represented the attachment to the tiny feet.
In Yuan Dynasty, Mongolians rarely adopted the custom, but when they ruled China, they were gradually affected. Observing the poems and songs of Yuan Dynasty, all the lyrics praised the bound foot as “Three Cun Golden Lotus.” From the example above, footbinding was more popular in the Yuan Dynasty than Song Dynasty.
Footbinding could be observed in the paintings of traditional Chinese ladies, pornographies, late-Ming Dynasty novels, and the relics. Women in the imperial palace were footbinding, wearing arrow shoes with golden flowers embroideries. The scholar Hu Yinglin said, “Even Child will envy the tiny feet,” “Only the beggars in the eastern Zhejiang, men are not allowed to be educated, women are forbidden of footbinding.” Ming society judged a person of their social class with their bound feet. So it’s obvious that Ming Dynasty women were even eager to bind their feet.
At the time of Qing Dynasty, the dress of Han women were still the same, but men changed. At this time, every man would never marry a woman without bound feet. People considered it shameful. The custom “glorified” in Qing Dynasty and every woman tried their best to bind feet and reach the goal of “beauty.”
Chapter 3 The Reason of Footbinding
1. Males and Females are treated differently:
Footbinding is a decoration of sexual diversity. Almost every accessory emphasized the difference between genders. It particularly expressed the ambiguities of different genders and made an image that women are supposed to be weak and gentle, men should be tough and manly. Further more, the concept established: Men take care of jobs, women manage the family affairs(男主外女主內).
The original miniature of footbinding, whatever it comes from the dissolute upper echelon families or entertainers and hooker, they bound their feet to dance in order to show the unique figure. It’s kind of ballet skills. Harmony with the social consciousness toward women, footbinding was the mainstay. Ancient women was demanded to keep their virginity, men and women couldn’t contact at random; women should stay in their rooms and to be gentle and modest. Under the social stream, footbinding was a good method to carry out female education. The great master of Confucianism, Zhu Xi, once pushed the custom in the southern Fujian as a tool of expressing Han culture and made people understand the principle of “men and women are treated differently.” After binding feet, women are hardly walking; the situation became a promise of obedience. Under the man-dominated society, footbinding was the best means to protect polygamy.
2. Social Regulation:
China has been a moral-directed society since thousands years ago. Keeping virginity and principles are the standard higher than religions. Chinese society is stable even without a well-constructed legal system.
When footbinding gradually spread, only the ladies in the rich families accepted the custom in the beginning, for they didn’t have to be labored. Soon, it became the symbol of wealth, power, and glory. In order to make daughters look like coming from good upbringing families and could be married into wealthy family, every family were keen to bind feet. In Qing Dynasty, Taiwan had a saying, “Servant-girls with big feet, ladies with bound feet.” The book “閒情偶寄,” the writer Li Liwon indicated that “The feudal prime minister Zhou spent a great fortune to buy a麗人called ‘抱小姐,’ for her feet were too tiny to walk so she must be held in the arms while she moved.” What a pathetic condition for such a tiny feet, but this kind of ladies were grabbed by the rich families. Footbinding was also the necessity of cosmetology for the families of officials and fair ladies; the ladder to reach the higher class of normal people. At that time, matchmakers need to make inquiries about besides the upbringing and the background of the women, the size of their feet were much more important. Tiny feet would make women in great demands. On the wedding day, if brides got out of the sedan chairs with beautiful golden lotus, they would be praised and admired; if not, laughs came after them.
3. Family System:
Chinese consider the changes of body, mind, and human relationship as important ways of learning, educating, and practicing moral teachings. The ultimate purpose is to change one’s destiny by properly change his body. Traditional Chinese marriage system allowed polygamy, it could be clearly defined that the marriage was “one husband, one wife, and many concubine.” The system tacitly agreed that successful men could own many women, but women would be jealous and fight for the favors. To be in the husbands’ good graces, footbinding was a way to decorate themselves. More than that, footbinding controlled women from escaping home or having affairs.
Beauty is women’s possession. Women would rather sacrifice their health and inconvenience of walking for the praise. When footbinding custom formed, the women with the image of too-weak-to-stand became the goddess; the image was a floating and graceful to their lovers. The standard of beauty demanded women to be thin and fine figures. Before Tang Dynasty, Chinese loves women of zaftig and looked healthy; at that time, many touching dances were played by female dancers. But in Qing Dynasty, except the acrobats, no female dancers were seen. Even the acrobats appealed to people with the amazing skills by walking on the steel ropes or lifting earthen jars by their golden lotus. Women couldn’t perform by sports or dance so all they could do is needlework and painstakingly beautified their tiny feet. We can find lots of exquisite and luxury accessories of the lotus shoes. When people promoted the liberation movement, no one thought that no proper shoes and accessories for unbinding feet. Under the atmosphere, who would like to release their feet?
5. The Symbol of Social Status:
study the footbinding history, we can find that the custom mainly spread among the rich families and the women whose job was to plead men. Normal peasant or servant-girls were fewer; even they bound their feet, the skills were not as delicate as the upper class. It’s not easy to make the feet really tiny. First of all, footbinding needs help and people need to support the footbinding women in the first several years. It’s not easy for a middle class family could afford. A beautiful tiny feet represented her family was rich and fair. In such a family, footbinding women would compare their feet with others. Family relatives’ viewpoint toward their daughters’ tiny feet made the custom deep rooted in every family. If we closely and deeply understand how the custom influences the sex life and the change of women bodies, we would realize the reason that in thousands of year, more than two billions of women would rather bind their entire lives with the custom.
Chapter 4 Medical Analysis:
1. Soften the feet
People in early days bound their toes and tried their best to put the entire feet in to tips while wearing shoes. The feet and the shoes would be thin and attractive; the tips seemed to rise up. The model can be found in the Han Dynasty cemetery of Duke Ma, the Lady Licang was discovered with the model feet.
The purpose of footbinding was to soften the feet. By stretching tight the足弓, the橫弓and縱弓. Like gymnastics and joints stretching exercise, the feet would be softer and more flexible.
Footbinding tended to produce a pair of feet to “float and walk in the heaven.” Women rose up their bodies and bound their feet as tiny as they could. Wearing high heels could have the same effect; but the bones of the heels stood and the soft tissue became thicker, women were easier to “float.”
2. Reduce of the feet
The goals of footbinding: 1. cut off the length of the feet, 2. shrink the feet from flat to sharp and round, 3. reduce the width of the feet. The only means to reach the targets were to change the soft tissues and the bones of feet. The ways to cut off the length were to make the heels down vertical, deepened the腳弓, and shrank the big toes.
3. Deformed the feet
The standard bound feet must be thin, tiny, sharp, and bending. It took years to be through the strict progress. After that, the feet obviously changed from skins, muscles, ligaments, joints, and bones. The soles became bender and arches deeply caved in. women with perfect tiny feet, the feet
In Qing Dynasty, immigrants from Fujian, Zhangzhou, and Quanzhou greatly moved in and the custom moved in as well. It was soon popular and became the standard to decide people of their background. “Ladies were footbinding, servant-girls with big feet.” The best golden lotus shoes were in Tainan with the features of short, tiny heels and the圓細冠. The models to judge the shoes were “tiny, thin, bending, soft, and symmetry.”
The lotus shoes in Fujian are unique. In early days the heels were cylinder. This kind of shoes could also be seen in the southern areas of Shanxi and Shanxi. The heels changed from cylinder to trapezoid and triangle with time, and finally became heels and soles combined. The shoes in Fujian were very tiny, but women were not certainly bound their feet as tiny as the shoes. Some highly padded the heels and the heels became pockets and the feet could hide inside and be seen tiny. The shoes in Fujian and Taiwan followed the Song Dynasty翹頭履, the shoe tips rose up, the vamps wide and short.
Jiangxi and Guangdong were later than other areas accepting the footbinding custom. Guangdong was the earliest place of China to have contact with Southeast Asia and because of that, it was earlier to liberate. In the early days of the establishment of Republic of China, except the long-history cultural cities, footbinding complete disappeared.
Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang
In the late period of Qing Dynasty, the custom in southern China was not as popular as in the north. But the quaint shoes were kept in many traditional well-known historical cities.
Besides the southern China had contact with the west earlier in the late period of Qing Dynasty, it had been through the Riot of Taipingtianquo. The footbinding custom was not widely accepted and the liberation movement was earlier than in the north. Few women wore the high-heel弓鞋.
Han women had led the footbinding custom into Yunan and Guizhou since Ming Dynasty. According the book, “X餘叢考,” only the women in the provincial capitals bound their feet in the period of Qianlong Emperor in Qing Dynasty. In the early days of Republic of China, the liberation movement was not prevalent; even today, footbinding women can still be witnessed on the streets of Tonghai in Kunming.
There were two kinds of弓鞋in Yunan and Guizhou: one was like an isosceles triangle, and the other was high-heeled with wooden soles. Many弓鞋were still with the quaint trunks. The trunks was from the same source with古代晉鞋and the歐洲尖頭鞋in the 13th century. It was the relics of the尖頭鞋in the 13th century.
The shoes in Qinghai followed the early弓鞋of Ming Dynasty, the soles were covered with layers of cloth. This kind of shoes were the earliest form of high-heel弓鞋. The entire shoes were lifted and called重臺履. The tips were flat and closely to the form discovered …… The shoes were popular in Ming Dynasty. In Qing Dynasty, only in Qinghai could be found the original type.
Footbinding in Sichuan was prevalent in Ming Dynasty. The book “Shubi,” written by Peng Zunsi indicated that when Zhang Xianzhong took over Sichuan, he suffered from malaria; he swore that “I will present tribute of two plates of the candles to the God.” He did recover and he released an order to cut of women’s bound feet for “two Golden Lotus Hills” as the candles to present to the God. Finally he cut his own concubine’s feet for the top of the “Hill.” We may image how many women bound their feet by the story above. For that, Sichuan women took it as a warning; so in the early and the middle period of Qing Dynasty, Sichuan women refused to bind their feet. But the time went by, the custom bounced back in the late period of Qing Dynasty.
弓鞋style in Sichuan in the late period of Qing Dynasty was the same with other areas except Aba area. They were wooden-soled and inclined-planed. Some places still maintained the style of quaint trunk.
Shandong wooden-soled shoes were well-known in Ming Dynasty. All kinds of soles were all over the province, but mostly were shaped in bamboo leaves, which were long and narrow. The places such as Jiaozhou peninsula, Weihai, Qingdao, and Longko, the eastern Shandong, were the open doors to the west in the late period of Qing Dynasty. The open status led to be flourishing in industrial and economic activities and the growth of the population. 弓鞋became more delicate and changed the fashion current in a couple of years.
Since the Qing Dynasty had been against the footbinding from the first year of ruling China, the custom in Beijing was not widespread as serious as other areas. According to the book, “聽雨叢談,” it said that “In the years of Tongzhi Emperor, 50 percent of the women living in the inner city bound their feet, but only 20 percent women living the suburban areas dared not to bind.” The closer women lived from the city, the fewer women bound their feet. Although弓鞋were different in each area, the difference was little. New style shoes would be in vogue in a couple of years in big cities like Tianjin in the early 20th century.
The most famous area of footbinding is Shanxi. Before the establishment of Ming Dynasty, most parts of Shanxi had been dominated by nomadic races, including Liao, Jin, and Yuan Dynasty. From Ming Dynasty, Shanxi became the trading door between Han people and the nomadic races. The business activities were vigorous and the fame of footbinding started to spread. In Qing Dynasty, the business began running around the entire country by Shanxi businessmen and the private banks successfully made a fortune and the province became rich. Businessmen traveled around and their footbinding wives always leaned against doors and expected their returning. 弓鞋of the rich province in Qing Dynasty were gorgeous and diverse from place to place. Some were strictly followed the old forms of Liao and Jin Dynasty, some were the latest modern style from the other provinces.
The two provinces had been the doors for China to reach the middle Asia. People of all nations crowded in the Capital, Changan in Tang Dynasty and the earthen figures of all sorts of shoes were discovered here. The poet Li Yu described in his book ”笠翁偶集,” “I travel around and I find the tiniest but still able-used feet are in Lanzhou of Gansu and Datong of Shanxi. The biggest feet of Lanzhou women were about three cuns, but they walk as fast as flying. When take off their socks and touch the feet, half-soft and half-solid. Some are even as soft as boneless, but they are hardly met by normal people.” The two provinces were well-known by the tiny feet in Ming and Qing Dynasty, the book “聽雨叢談” considered that Gansu and Shaanxi were the most prevalent areas of footbinding in China; we may see many tiny 坡跟弓鞋.
The Northeast area, Ningxia, and Inner Mongolia
Man people originally were not accepted the footbinding custom in the Northeast area. It was brought into from Ming Dynasty and the Qing government forbade Man people of footbinding more than once. Plenty of Han immigrants from Hebei and Shandong moved in the area and affected Man people in the late period of Qing Dynasty. Man shoes were wooden-soled and performed in all sorts of 弓鞋. The form in Liaoning and Jilin was followed from the one in Shandong and Hebei.
Chapter 6: The description of “Golden Lotus” relics
The Fashion Current of 弓鞋
When the Jiaoji and Jinpu railway opened the transport service, Jinan became one of the cities of footbinding fashions in China in the late period of Qing Dynasty like Shanghai, Tianjin, and Qingdao. Footbinding women in some areas followed the old manners and became quaint. But time changed, especially in the fashion and open city like Jinan, women clothes followed the latest style in 50 years. Let’s take the early 50 years of the 20th century of 弓鞋in Jinan as the model to observe the most special fashion style.
The purpose of footbinding was for women easily to be married. So a bride’s background, the tiny feet and lotus shoes, the exquisite embroidery and shoe-making skills would be fully performed on the wedding ceremony. The items revealed not only the background of the bride’s family but also the complete preparation for the wedding of the bride and the glory and extravagance of the groom’s family.
In China, women particularly embroidered the red 弓鞋for their marriage and bride wore them for the good fortune.
Footbinding was the social politeness demanded for women. On the funeral ceremonies, the way to perform弓鞋was seen by everyone. In traditional big families, relatives lived together and everybody had to wear mourning when the earlier generation passed away. It’s a traditional courtesy of footbinding and it’s also polite to wear white喪鞋during the funeral period. Some areas women covered 弓鞋simply by white cloths; some were covered by hair-woven罩面. When the husbands died, the funeral period would last long and the women named themselves widows. They never wore colorful 弓鞋and even some footbinding cloths needed to be black.
Women in northern China stayed on kang (a heatable brick bed) for most of the time and they wore睡鞋. There were no睡鞋in the south. 睡鞋were for protecting the bound feet and kept the footbinding cloths from loosening. In winter, 睡鞋were red for maintain the heat and also temping to men. For modern people, a soft, colorful睡鞋which never leave the bed will be a explore for shoe design.
women wore睡鞋while sleeping on kang and they directly put on another shoe when they leave their bed. They wore two shoes and left home; when it’s cold, women put on another套鞋so they left home with three layers of shoes. It’s the special culture for footbinding women. Don’t forget! Footbinding women also wore socks and the footbinding cloths, so they wore five layers to protect the tiny feet.
tiny弓鞋were special for their aesthetic qualities of silks, only the northern nomadic race took leathers to make shoes in thousands of years. Women disliked the shoes for a long time because of the qualities of rough and hard. In the early 20th century, western and Japanese shoe-making skills exported and footbinding women began making shoes with ox leather. The new shoes represented the mixture of footbinding custom and the western products.
The so-called “腿帶” means the straps which footbinding women used for binding their legs. It’s similar with leg wrappings of modern soldiers. 腿帶was invented in the year of Guangxu Emperor and was made of silk and cotton. During the 40 years, because of harmonizing with other dresses, the use changed a lot.
There were十字形藕覆in many areas such as Jianxi, Fujian, and Taiwan. They were embroidered with monochromatic lumps or even completely painted with monochrome. The way diversified with traditional Chinese painting of multi-colored constructions. The means simplified all kinds of pictures with simple ones and repeated performed. In order to memorize the constructions, the embroidery patterns were invented. 十字繡was only found in the southern藕覆and women’s underwear. Never occurred on弓鞋.
many high quality腿扣環were from Shanxi. Many was identified as the Ming Dynasty relics and revealed that there were lots of rich and successful businessmen and the footbinding custom was widespread in Shanxi. According to 腿扣環’s arc, it was hanged on the legs; some were with copper buttons, some were sewed on the cloths. Copper buttons were used on the calfs and silver buttons were sewed on the cloths, used for the ankles. 腿扣環were in pairs, but the pairs were rarely similar or equal to the other which represented the long history and the widespread. 腿扣環often used good fortune expressions as topics and many were with exquisitely hollow-curved and jade-inlayed. From the images in few photos left, 腿扣環were popular in the early and the middle period of Qing Dynasty; fewer women wore腿扣環in the late period of Qing Dynasty.
No matter chains, circles, or bracelets used until today, they had been popular in the Qing Dynasty and which represented the Chinese women took the lead of fashion style of feet accessories in the world. Differed from the modern style, most of脛飾were worn on both feet in Qing Dynasty. Some were added other accessories and jingled while walking, some were closely bound the feet and made the ankles restricted.
Footbinding cloths usually made of white or cream-colored coarse cotton fabric; some might be blue and red. Blue ones were for little girls or lower class women. It’s said that the blue ones could be astringent the wounds and the color needed not to be wash frequently. The red ones were for the brides or women went for field trips in spring. Some cloths were made of silk and the silky cloths were rough and thin for footbinding. The length of the cloth was between 150cm to 300cm; the perfect length depended on if it could be bound for 5 to 7 layers. The pro rata width in accordance with the size of the feet and mostly 60 percent compared with the feet. General width was about 10cm.
Heels and Soles
Agricultural society was self-sufficiency. The raw materials of shoe-making such as silk strings and cloths were easy to obtain. However, the soles of wooden-弓鞋are difficult for women to make so women needed carpenters’ help. In Qing Dynasty, there were street venders selling wooden soles around and they made弓鞋of all sizes. Because of different forms of wooden soles, the means of making shoes were different.
drinking with鞋杯was popular by broad customers, but it was easily splashed. People imitated the shape and made of all sorts of materials, it provided another way of entertainment in the feasts.
鞋杯was widespread and inspired people. some invented personal objects in the shape of弓鞋for both using and appreciation.
纏足相關用品(Other Related Stuffs of Footbinding)
The thousand-year custom deeply affected the culture of the society and many objects were particularly pointed to the needs of footbinding women. The following ones were the daily necessities.
Chapter 7 Explanation of the secrets to “Golden Lotus”
In the book “Erotic China,” written by Gao Peiluo, indicated that “Women are sexy with tiny feet and golden lotus has a great influence on Chinese sex lives.” In Qing Dynasty, Li Ruzhen asked in his book “鏡花緣,” “What is the difference between footbinding and making sex toys?” In thousands of years, footbinding custom had a secret tie with human sex life.
Tiny feet were mysterious for some people. Lin Yutang once said, “Footbinding for start to finish represents the natural existence of sex ideology.” Some men would be aroused simply when they saw, heard, of touched the tiny feet. Some pointed that footbinding increased temperaments and attractions in sex life and a “brave new world” invented in human sex history.
Men couldn’t resist a pair of lovely tiny feet. Besides holding in their hands, some adorers discovered the skills to appreciate. Some adorers even toadied to wash and wipe the feet, cut off and polish the nails, and put on the powders for women and took advantage of the occasions to hold and scratch the feet. They found it really interesting.
The shoes and the socks of footbinding women were very tight and required time and work to put on and take off. Some men tried to feel the pressure by helping women take off shoes and socks, some women loved to be served and received a warm affection as a make up. Sometimes men tended to open the footbinding cloths and women tried hard to resist; finally men and women fell down together and had a lot of fun.
Since Song Dynasty, intellectuals and poets had praised and appreciated tiny feet by countless poems and articles. But what is the standard for people to appreciate and praise? The most widespread “7-words rhymed formula” expressed that a nice pair of tiny feet must be “thin, tiny, sharp, bending, fragrant, soft, and straight.” Feet had to be as tiny as they could and the soles needed to be thin and sharp. They also had to be clean all the time and smell fragrant; the feet were entirely soft and looked straight. Besides the standards mentioned above, the gesture of walking were even important. Fang Xun indicated in his book “香蓮品澡” that when walking on the wind-blowing days, up-and-down stairs, and the rugged and rough ground, the touching and attractive gestures would be more revealed and appealed to men. The gestures became a feeling of floating and a secret power of temping. At that time, a pair of tiny feet would arouse desires while walking and be witnessed by men.
Ancient people besides appreciate the feet, they summed up 11 kinds of holding positions: straight, opposite, clockwise, counter-clockwise, inverted, turn aside, oblique, upright, horizontal, front and back. Those positions tried to carefully taste the tiny feet and more than that, tasted the soft of the feet by massaging and gently pinching.
Chapter 8 The Influence of Footbinding
1. The Second Sex Character
Footbinding was an education to make women identify themselves with their gender. The make-up after binding became the privileges, especially the embroideries on the shoes. The exaggerated moving style and the buttocks also became the female characters. Men and women were divided at childhood to broaden the diversity between genders; footbinding was made to be the second sex character to clearly differ the sex. By dressing, behaviors, fames, desires and unstable, restricted shoes, women walked differently from men and footbinding was an important role to differ men and women. Footbinding in old time was the dividing mark in sex.
2. Mutual Relationship between Females
Women changed the ways of living after footbinding. They couldn’t freely go out and crowded to learn embroidery skills, washing clothes, diligently put on make-ups; they needed to be modest, gentle, home-loving and left the outer world , transferred to focus on their household lives. Footbinding culture helped women seek the inner peace. Mothers were responsible for taking care and educating daughters and footbinding prolonged the time for them to have connections and sharing the life experiences. Mothers-in-law educated and managed daughters-in-law, madams instructed servant-girls how to bind feet; those were from the angle of women taught, manage, and pressed women. Under the social conditions, men and women mustn’t have contact casually and divided seriously.
3. Family Conditions
Political regimes have altered in thousands of years, but family systems never changed. Chinese viewpoints toward marriage seemed to be the combination of two families instead of love affairs between two persons. Chinese marriages were beyond affections between couples and framed in a stable family form. The top issue of marriage was the combination of two families.
Women in Tang Dynasty could remarry and this type of marriage was close to modern thoughts. Since Song Dynasty, women had to follow the principles, such as “Keeping virginity is prior to everything.” Men could休妻if necessary, but they couldn’t divorce for 休妻was also a great event. Widows have to live in widowhood for the rest of their lives; fathers and mothers-in-law had great power in the families, married women couldn’t have close contact with their own parents. Certain restrictions above could be traced back from the demands of families and patriarchal clans and which revealed the way of marriage were completely different. Of course footbinding helped maintain the marriage forms. Han people have sought for higher goals, like moral attachment to the family, Confucian orthodoxy, etc, different from the western point of value: life.
Keeping virginity and widowhood emphasize the honor of groups, families. Principles are more important than lives. Footbinding was based on a back ground that human body was not mattered and people should sacrifice themselves for the family reputation and peace. Compared to modern times, we are living in a time of individualism, but footbinding times were focus on family.
4. Handwork Industry
The development of business led to男主外女主內. The reason for women to stay home was that men had more freedom and social abilities than women. Men dominated the socialized affairs in trade and business so it was carried out the concept that men and women should work differently. The situation in the cities near the borders was even obvious and the footbinding custom was widespread. Men could spend money on the streets, but women couldn’t. It could be witnessed in the picture of “Qing Ming Shang He Tu:” streets are men’s world; women’s world is behind the walls. In order to satisfy the need of footbinding women, some provide all kinds of products and different ways of selling, streets venders produce many exquisite products and they peddle goods in the streets by chanting or deliver to houses. Streets venders sell differently correspond to footbinding culture. Besides, women’s handwork gradually turned out to be a processing industry of family agricultural products; it was the basis of the rise of cities and decided the form of ”Men take care of jobs, women manage family affairs(男主外女主內),” the basic social division of labor. People got rid of the times of nomadic and agricultural societies but opened the times of processing industry of family agricultural products.
Footbinding custom is easily to blend in different races. Different races has different ways of social communication, such as singing of aboriginals, women chat at rivers while washing clothes, cooperation of spinning cotton into yarn and weaving cloths, and so on. Footbinding women must have some exchanges of experiences and thoughts during the painful process. What did they notice? What kind of culture did they invent? The gorgeous clothes and food cultures, the life custom of mutual giving, appreciation, and admiration, the habit of mutual concerns, these produced the detailed love stories such as “Jin Ping Mei” and “Hong Lo Meng.” The exquisite food, flower decorations, embroidery, and mahjong came out under the surroundings. The process soy-sauce pickles, sausages, agricultural products, family handicrafts led to a business surrounding to supply family needs. The friendly neighbors communicated and cooperated; women needed not to do tough work for living. It was the time of propriety.
Confucianism since Chun-Qiu Period had become the regulation toward family members in Song Dynasty. Family was the basic group in the society in Song Dynasty and footbinding custom aroused under the back ground. Since五代, China had entered the time of farmstead-clan. It was the great time of farmstead-clan and could be equalized to footbinding time. When the feet are liberated, the family forms broke down as well.
Women hardly left home after footbinding. From Song Dynasty, people abandoned screens and rooms were firmly divided. The division strongly protected privacy than ever. Footbinding was a personal behavior to women. The new style of decoration made the roads directly into the houses and the floor tiled with stones. People needed not to take off shoes while entering the house and the new habit was suitable for footbinding women. People stopped sitting on the floors and started to use chairs and tall tables. For the conveniences of walking of footbinding women, people built摸乳巷, railings, narrow stairs and corridors, surrounded gardens of fake mountains and rivers. Those were made footbinding women could also appreciate the landscape at home. The architecture ideas projected that the entire nation and cities were surrounded by the Great Wall.
6. Change of the Society
Chinese are “family-system” instead of “individual system.” Under family system, many rules were invented to protect the maintenances of family and footbinding was a part of it. It was not good for individual, but helped the entire family.
What society did footbinding represent? It was the long-term stable, settled down, and prosperous agricultural society. Men and women worked dividedly and self-sufficiently. Women placed in a second-rate, family handworks of industry and it’s the way for them the handle the time of economy. Footbinding custom widely rose up in the dry farmland areas but not the paddy field ones; in the prosperous cities of great development of economic activities; in the time of flourishing and every family with surplus food.
Footbinding changed women’s temperament, gestures, and life styles. More than that, it changed the family relationships, personal destiny, and even the ways of living of the whole family and nation. Modern people pursue life, wealth, health, economy, or political goals, but under “Golden Lotus” culture, people sought beauty, morality, and good upbringing. Tiny feet became a symbol of social status and courtesy. Concubines system was subsidiary to the footbinding custom and it made women with beauty and tiny feet into the rich families; the condition led to the conclusion that rich families were getting bigger and poor, lower class families were declined.
Traditional Chinese society was man-dominated. Women stayed home because of footbinding and children stayed home as well under protection. Families grew and females were highly ensured by the whole nation, family, and the society. Hard-working men could have mental foundations that home is the root. Women were the factors never moved in the family and became the source and the meaning of family-registers. Footbinding was used for consolidating, maintaining the families and reconstructing family moral principles and couple relationships.
Footbinding custom aroused the Chinese Renaissance. Women created and sought for the perfection of handworks, the aesthetic gestures and beauty, Chinese appreciation and consider toward objects at in a little distance, the realization of women’s body, the education from mothers to daughters, cleverly deal the mutual relationships. The process of footbinding was a training and education of body and helped women learn to exchange their health for beauty and morality. We modern people may not understand the sequences, and few footbinders considered that the bound feet were for me to cherish and appreciate. Most women bound their feet for promoting themselves and richening their virtue. It’s totally different from the western philosophy that people sacrifices for love. Footbinding sacrificed not for lovers but the moral system, social regulations, and self-promoting education.
We would rather describe footbinding as a situation that under the atmosphere of servant-raising society than the ideology of男尊女卑and women-slaved. Women hoped themselves to have total different destinies with proper changes and footbinding was bearing such an important task. It was the idea before human opened minds. Before human could change their lives by intelligence, footbinding was indeed the greatest bodily-change in human history; for live changed ever since!
Chapter 9 Liberation of the Bound Feet
In the early years of the establishment of Republic of China, it revealed that an area which liberated the bound feet earlier or even of no bound feet led the liberation movement to into the footbinding areas. During Yuan and Qing Dynasty, different regimes of nomadic races didn’t alter the culture of Han women; on the other hand, the female liberation movement from the west thoroughly changed women’s world in the late period of Qing Dynasty. Female liberation movement and the anti-footbinding movement were the most serious revolutions in Chinese history or to the Oriental world in thousands of years. On the contrary, men’s society moved slowly for it had been through many revolutions. The shoe style from a thousand years ago still had been used to the late period of Qing Dynasty could be the best example. Female liberation movement was an important change toward sexual relationships, women’s status, the family and social lives. The revolution was different from military attack or occupation. No foreign aggression or enemies, simply from different groups to be in charge of the government. The new revolution occurred constantly in modern history.
Footbinding liberation movement in the late period of Qing Dynasty could be referred to the greatest revolution about women’s lives in 5000 years. It completely changed the life styles in the past. The riot of “Taiping Heavenly Kingdom” reduced the footbinding custom in the south and had a great influence on Nangjing city. It might be affected and declined by the riot in the Middle China. “Taiping Heavenly Kingdom” riot brought the custom in Guangdong and Guangxi to the Middle China and could be described as the first female revolution. Then the war of “Allied Forces of Eight-Nations against China” rapidly decreased the custom as well. The Northern Expedition was the other footbinding liberation movement; the southern people of natural feet defeated the northern footbinding people. In thousands of years, non-footbinding nomadic races had liberated the footbinding races in the Central Plains, but finally they were engulfed by the footbinding culture. In the late period of Qing Dynasty, Chinese were faced with the most chaotic situation. The turmoil and chaos caused by wars just changed women’s lives.
The main cities of liberation movement in the late period of Qing Dynasty were Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Hunan. The movement set into action from the south to the north. Besides, Shanghai and Tianjin had different reaction when facing the same affections from the west. Women in Shanghai accepted the concept to liberate the feet, but women in Tianjin walked on the opposite way; they tended and tried to invent stylish footbinding means. The same situation also happened in Shandong, Qingdao, and Northest China; the liberation movement continued in Guangdong, Taiwan, and Xiamen.
Within the footbinding culture, only the footbinding liberation movement could be witnessed in words in the society. Footbinding liberation movement was based on many reasons in the beginning, such as healthy issues, barbarian-like and uncivilized. Finally, liberation supporters used the reasons about marriage, such as the restriction of marriage, don’t-marry-footbinding women plea, giving non-footbinding wedding certificate, which all represented the ties between footbinding and marriage. More than those above, the restrictions of laws and administration forfeits, media advertising, pleas on magazines and newspapers, posts, held anti-footbinding groups on the society; schools educated women and held natural-feet clubs. The government sent officials to forbid footbinding, Emperors’ announced imperial edicts, and the President’s normal order. What kind of custom except footbinding would be obstructed by all kinds of pressure, especially from the government? Originally footbinding liberation movement was unique in China, but finally it connected with the worldwide female movement and became female liberation movement. What is that in for the western people to liberate the bound feet? Is it simply because it is good for the Chinese? Actually, the western culture changed Chinese and the female education based on the attitudes of the ruling class and expressed the ideas by religious means. Western textile products changed the Chinese outfits and make-ups. Under the great influence of western culture, footbinding liberation broke the concept that men and women lived dividedly and deal with different jobs. The tense way of living in the industrial society replaced the leisure lives; western education replaced the traditional Chinese education. Women started to participate in social occasions and accepted the idea of freedom to choose their spouses and the sexual equality. Western aesthetic ideas provided new outfits and beauty concepts; Industrial Revolution took over the status of handwork. Although the products would be in a large number, people could not maintain personal brandings; the easy way to obtain dresses and accessories broke the concept of Han people which men and women worked differently and distribution.
Chapter 10 Introspection of “Golden Lotus Culture”
Beauty is born to be natural, but it still can be trained, produced, or created with bearing. What we called “beauty” just the standard correspond to the social regulations and moralities. It uses body to transform and behaves properly for the social principles and actions. But mostly our bodies, behaviors, rules are not naturally conformed to the social standards so we need to transform and make progress. “Three Cun Golden Lotus” was the strict standard that the ancient society defined the “beauty;” and which tended to make women to reach the goal by changing their bodies. But it had to challenge the limit of bearing. It is not rare in the ancient society; in the modern society, the “natural beauty” may be the last thing we will mention. “Beauty” still needs to transform and gradually correspond to the standard.
Women always care about others’ viewpoints to them and how they feel about themselves. In order to be more beautiful, they may insist on many things and sacrifice the convenience in daily lives. They will even use external force to change their bodies. Why could they bear many changes and suffering simply because of beauty? It seems that not only the people who tend to reach beauty, but also the ones who practice martial arts, students to pass imperial examinations, struggling for lives and make a living as performers could bear the pains. People considered the more pain they suffered, the greater men they would be; people were willing to bear pains for beauty. This idea is out-dated in the modern world. If we try to imagine that the challenge of changing bodies and bearing pains as formal education, it did help women break the record to bear and correspond to the “beauty” and virginity at that time. Footbinding was a strong and heavy forced task, including the beauty of body, gesture, and virginity, to demand women. Women were made to accept the idea that in order to have a better life, suffered some pains on bodies were necessary. Under the atmosphere, keeping courtesy, virginity and all kinds of moral principles were easily accepted and helped women cultivate strong wills.
If we described footbinding as the Constitution of ancient women lives and then all life models were invented with it. After the establishment of the Constitution, crime rate on the society declined effectively. The same ideas are suitable for men because of accepting the Confucianism, Chinese society were stable without religions.
In the past little girls bound their feet since their childhood. They were deeply inculcated in early years and the education was the great learning and changes of their bodies and thoughts in the rest of their lives. When young ladies with tiny feet showed up in public, they would be admired and noticed immediately. That’s one of the reasons why liberation supports were blamed in the very beginning. The walking styles and thoughts of footbinding women were just like modern women with high heels. They are proud and confident. In people’s noticing, women enjoyed the feelings the satisfaction and glory. Footbinding was like the high heels which women would never take off.
Footbinding culture was unique for Han people in thousands of years, just like Confucianism and the doctrine of the mean. In different times, dynasties, and areas, footbinding represented different social phenomenon. It is like Chinese culture orthodoxy, different times lead to different historical meanings. Broadly speaking, footbinding was not simply a custom; it was a reveal of all kinds of cultures surrounded by. Nowadays footbinding is forbidden, Chinese traditional thoughts hasn’t changed and turned out to be a life standard. What is the reason for footbinding to maintain for a thousand year? What is the secret for such a prosperous, rich, and strong nation to maintain a thousand year?
Footbinding culture is similar to the disappearance of all sorts of ancient courtesy and it truly worth thinking over and studying.