Three-inch Golden Lotus – Han Chinese

Irv
Irv Graham

It is said, for example, that the practice of foot binding originated among court dancers in the early Song Dynasty (960-1279). Another legend dates to the thirteenth century and tells of the fame of the dancing girls with tiny feet and beautiful bow (bound) shoes at the tenth century court of the Southern Tang kingdom (937-975) in South Central China. It has been estimated that by the early nineteenth century up to 40%, and possibly more, of Han Chinese women had their feet bound. In 1644 the Qing Dynasty came to power in China. The new Qing rulers belonged to an ethnic group known as Manchu. Manchu women, contrary to the Han, were officially forbidden to bind their feet.

“Three-inch golden lotus (三寸金莲)”, “lotus” is a metaphor, but the “three-inch” is not. In ancient times, women had their feet tightly bound at the age of four or five to control further growth. Depending on their sizes, feet were granted different titles: All bound feet were called “lotus”, but those bigger than four inches were “iron lotuses”, four inches were “silver lotuses”, and the three-inch ones were called “golden lotuses”(about eight centimeters), which was apparently the highest ranking.

Smaller feet helped women to gain a better prestige and marriage. As an old Chinese saying says, women conquer the world by conquering men, and men conquer women by conquering the world.

The walking posture of small-foot women was considered graceful and noble. The Chinese believe that the most beautiful walking is wonky willow-like, which displays the feminine charm. Therefore, tottering of foot-bound woman is attractive and elegant.

Further Reading

http://www.oocities.org/simon22chen/articles/mark/it_was_not_so_bad.htm
https://trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/east-asia/china/han-chinese-footbinding

Photograph of Zhou Guizhen, a Chinese woman with bound feet (2007).

Chinese Social History – Original Antique Photographs

Marquis Chi-tse Tseng
Chinese: 毅勇侯【(湖南湘鄉)】曾紀澤 (劼剛)
Also Known As: “Marquis Tseng”
Birthdate: 1839 (51)
Death: 1890 (51)

Immediate Family:

Son of Zēng Guófān 曾國藩 and 歐陽氏
Husband of 劉氏 and 賀氏
Father of 曾廣璇; 曾廣珣; 曾廣銘(殤); 曾廣鑾; 曾廣鐊(殤) and 1 other
Brother of 曾紀第; 曾紀靜; 曾紀耀; 曾紀琛; 曾紀純

Marquis Zeng Jize (Chinese: 曾纪泽; pinyin : Zēng Jìzé; Wade Giles, Tseng Chi-tse) (1839 – April 12, 1890), one of China’s earliest ministers to London, Paris and Saint Petersburg, played an important role in the diplomacy that preceded and accompanied the Sino-French War (August 1884–April 1885).

Zeng was appointed minister to Britain, France and Russia in 1878, and lived in Europe for seven years (1879–1885). He made his name as a diplomat in 1880 and 1881, by renegotiating the infamous 1879 Treaty of Livadia with Russia. The resulting Treaty of Saint Petersburg (February 1881), which reversed most of the Russian gains of 1879, was generally considered a diplomatic triumph for China.

Zeng’s duties as minister to Paris were dominated by the confrontation between France and China over Tonkin that eventually culminated in the Sino-French War. Zeng’s denunciations of French policy in Tonkin began softly enough in April 1882 after the capture of the citadel of Hanoi by Henri Rivière, grew more insistent as French ambitions became clearer in the summer of 1883, and reached a climax immediately after the Son Tay Campaign in December 1883.

Further Reading

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~qing/WEB/TSENG_CHI-TSE.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeng_Jize
https://www.geni.com/people/Marquis-Tseng-Chi-tse-%E6%9B%BE%E7%B4%80%E6%BE%A4/6000000012827521360

Every Pieces Tells A Story

Irv
Irv Graham

This Kangxi Rouleau vase depicts a legend that dates to 3rd-century China. The central figure, a young man called Pan’an, was the man all the women in the neighbourhood were crazy for. He was very elegant, very handsome, almost like a rock star. In this vase, he is richly dressed, with a fan and hair ornament. But his health was quite fragile, which is why he is being carried in a chariot.

On the balcony and in the windows, elegantly dressed women can be seen throwing fruit to him. At the end of his walk, according to the legend, his chariot would be full of fruit. You can find many representations of this story in the 18th century. That said, depictions on vases of Pan’an — who remains a famous character in China today — are relatively rare.

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