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Splendid Slippers: A Thousand Years of an Erotic Tradition [Paperback]

Beverley Jackson
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £15.07 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Dec 1997
An extraordinary exploration of footbinding that encompasses Chinese art and mythology, social and political history, and truly exotic eroticism. The author's vast collection of historical and contemporary photographs, plus 40 full-color "portraits" of her most prized slippers, creates a uniquely poignant and evocative panorama.

Product details

  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 1st edition (1 Dec 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898159571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898159578
  • Product Dimensions: 25.3 x 25.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 322,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

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

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The colorful procession moved slowly through the swirling, choking dust from the Gobi desert as it approached the massive walls of Peking. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It is a comprehensive overview of the subject. 28 Mar 1998
By A Customer
I started to read this book with some apprehension due to its subject matter, however, once I started, I couldn't put it down. Ms. Jackson's in-depth research is evident in each chapter, and it educated me as to a mysterious custom which is difficult for Occidentals to comprehend. What a great book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book will delight anyone with an interest in textiles, Far-East history or history of women's role in society. Absolutely one of the most beautifully photographed books I've ever seen. Fascinating text makes this book difficult to open without reading cover to cover, though interestingly, this book is not gender specific. Many friends have commented on having to wrestle it away from their husbands. As a 20 year collector of Ching textiles it has become the most cherished book in my library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This was my first exposure to this unusual topic. The author completely drew me in and provided a simple yet comprehensive social and historical account of this old Chinese custom. While mostly factual, the interweaving tale of the young girl gave it life. A few typos noted. An excellent buy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing. The slippers that enslaved women 3 May 1998
By A Customer
We visited friends for the weekend and Splendid Slippers was on a table. Every spare moment, I read. Late into the night, I read. Understanding, for the first time, what foot binding meant. The physical pain of the process to be endured, the crippling for life, the women accepting the tradition and enforcing it on their absolutely amazing history... fabulously displayed slippers... wrentching photographs of the reality...woman or man, you will not believe it possible, physically or sprirtually.
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