China News Service, Taiyuan, August 23rd. Title: Shanxi men collected nearly a thousand pairs of "three-inch embroidered shoes" to witness the millennium history of Chinese women’s foot binding

  Author Yang Jieying Yang Runde Cui Lixia

  "These old objects bear witness to the millennia of foot-binding history of Chinese women." On the afternoon of the 23rd, Zhao Shixin, a folk collector in Jinyuan District, Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, told reporters that it was an unforgettable painful memory.

  Because he was curious about the "three-inch golden lotus" as a child, Zhao Shixin began to collect three-inch embroidered shoes. In more than 40 years, he has collected more than 4,000 pieces related to the "three-inch golden lotus", including nearly 1,000 pairs of embroidered shoes.

Collection of Zhao Shixin. Photo by Cui Lixia

  Zhao Shixin introduced that some overseas people wanted to buy his collection at a high price, but he declined. "As far as possible, these old objects should not leave Shanxi or be lost overseas. You can do some exhibitions to let more people know."

  Three-inch embroidered shoes, also called bow shoes, are shoes worn by women with foot-binding in ancient times. They are named after their soles bend up like a bow. Among all the women's shoes in Zhao Shixin's collection, bow shoes account for up to 80%, and the rest are foot shoes and sky shoes that appeared in modern times.

Collection of Zhao Shixin. Photo by Cui Lixia

  Zhao Shixin said: “Shoes with feet are a kind of transitional women's shoes that appeared in the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China. They were worn by women who had wrapped their feet and put their feet on when their feet were not completely shaped. The size is between arch shoes and sky shoes. Time. Tianzu shoes are shoes worn by naturally grown feet."

Collection of Zhao Shixin. Photo by Cui Lixia

  Talking about why he became interested in women's shoes represented by bow shoes, Zhao Shixin recalled that his great-grandmother had a pair of "three-inch golden lotus." The slender "golden lotus" is never shown. Zhao Shixin and his siblings were able to secretly observe the "true face of Mount Lushan" of the "three-inch golden lotus" while their great-grandmother was washing their feet.

  "When I was young, I was only curious about the'Three-inch Golden Lotus.' It was a coincidence that I collected bow shoes at first." Zhao Shixin said.

Collection of Zhao Shixin. Photo by Cui Lixia

  Since 1976, Zhao Shixin began to collect bow shoes. He traveled north and south, and his footprints spread all over China.

  In Zhao Shixin's home, collections are displayed all over the room. The bow shoes in Zhao Shixin's collection are of very different materials, styles, and uses. There are embroidered shoes, cloth shoes, straw shoes, rain boots, etc., as well as stone, wood, porcelain, and silver jewelry shoes about 1 to 3 cm in length.

  Set off against the women's shoes are old black and white photos on the booth. There are more than 1,000 pictures and portraits. No matter the photos or portraits, the women in them all wear bow shoes, showing distinctive characteristics of the times.

  "Only when my daughter was gone, I got old photos, portraits and all kinds of bow shoes, foot shoes, and sky shoes." Zhao Shixin said.

Collection of Zhao Shixin. Photo by Cui Lixia

  With more and more collections, Zhao Shixin has a deeper understanding of bow shoes. "Bow shoes are the product of foot binding under the feudal ethics. I think behind the'three-inch golden lotus', there is a culture that plays a supporting role." He determined to start with the collection of bow shoes and explore the evolution and reflection of women's shoes. Social changes.

  "These images and objects have together become a historical testimony to the development of Chinese women's shoes culture, and they are the best explanation of the changes in women's social status." Zhao Shixin said, "Although this is a painful history, it is also an unforgettable national memory."

  The ancient county town of Taiyuan is about to open, and there will be museums in the city. Zhao Shixin told reporters that he hopes to exhibit these collections in the museum group and inject the memory of the "three-inch golden lotus" into the ancient county of Taiyuan, so that the folk culture will be more vivid. (Finish)