Plaster model of right foot deformed by Chinese practice of foot-binding, from Hong Kong, property of Sir James Cantlie, by Dr. Rabe, Hong Kong, China, 1912
Foot-binding was a traditional practice that originated among high society women in China, possibly up to 1000 years ago. It involved ‘moulding’ the feet of a young girl, usually aged between three and eleven. This artificially restricted foot growth and was achieved by breaking the bones of the feet and manipulating the toes under the arch. The feet were then bound and repeatedly squeezed in to tighter and smaller bindings and shoes over time. The painful practice was associated with beauty, status and marriage eligibility. It eventually spread through all social classes. Foot-binding was outlawed in 1912, but it continued in more rural areas for years afterwards.
This plaster model of a right foot shows the damage caused by foot-binding. It was made in Hong Kong by a Dr Rabe. The model belonged to Scottish physician, medical administrator and surgeon Sir James Cantlie (1851-1926). It is shown with a left foot and a tiny pair of embroidered silk shoes (A51770).
- Anatomy & Pathology
- Object Number:
- model - representation
- visual and verbal communication
- Cantlie, N.
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
View manifest in IIIF viewer
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.