Foot-binding phenomenon began in the Five Dynasties period. Southern Tang emperor Li Yu’s concubine Gong Bin wrapped around the feet with cloth, it was in “crescent” shape. She wore plain socks, and danced on the lotus which was made of gold. After watching Li Yu was satisfied. This trend first emerged in the palace and then spread to the common people. Entering into the Northern Song Dynasty, widely circulated, foot-binding phenomenon became as a virtue among women, it will be considered as shame for a woman not to bind her feet.
In the past girls used to start the foot-binding when their were five or six years old, the method was use long strips of cloth and bend the four toes to the soles of the feet forming the “lotus feet.”
Another key function of foot-binding was that it was not convenient for women with bound feet to walk, thus it helped reduce the chance for women to betray their marriage through restricting their daily walking and freedom.
The practice foot binding in ancient China reflects the unique aesthetic standards and patriarchal social structures. Its demise showed the women’s emancipation and advancement in social status.