From the Publisher
The following review appeared in CHOICE:
The following review appeared in the September '98 issue of CHOICE:
"Jackson's book is a wonderfully personal and aesthetic account of the Chinese tradition of footbinding, by an author who writes with verve, sympathy for her interest, and the journalist's ability to capture a reader's interest. There are ten chapters describing many aspects of shoe construction, usage and ornamentation, details concerning binding and traditions followed by Chinese ethnic groups, attitudes of men toward the footbinding practice, and in general virtually all the topics and questions that would come to a Western mind when presented with this subject. This is no psychological analysis or gender issue tract, but rather a presentation of the subject by a skilled writer..." --L.G. Kavaljian, California State University, Sacramento
From the Author
Tens of millions of women did it,. No one talked about it.
This book was the result of questions asked through the years, following my national lectures on antique Chinese clothing and customs. The majority of the questions asked concerned the 1,000 year old Chinese custom of Han Chinese women binding little girl's feet at about the age of six. People had heard vague references to the custom, but knew nothing really about it. And the little one heard about footbinding was usually incorrect information. It wasn't true that only the rich bound. It wasn't true that women with bound feet were completely limited in their activities. They could climb mountains, plough the fields, work 14 hour days in the rice fields on three or four inch feet, and tens of millions of them did. Americans of Chinese descent asked the most questions. Their mothers or grandmothers had tiny bound lotus feet. But they never were allowed to see them. And the subject was never discussed.
In addition to the history of the custom of footbinding, I was quite fascinated by the beautiful little embroidered slippers the women made to hide their misshapen feet. All the beauty and fantasy these women might feel, but had no other way of expressing in their difficult lives, could be expressed in the embroidered images they created on their little shoes.
My research led to exotic sexual practices most foreign to our western thinking that involved the tiny feet, as well as wonderful myths concerning the beginnings of footbinding, to beautiful works of art portraying the women with three inch golden lotus feet and shoes, and so many other intriguing directions, that I felt it must go beyond my lectures. My research must be incorporated into a book. And so six years of research became SPLENDID SLIPPERS - A THOUSAND YEARS OF AN EROTIC TRADITION