Meet The Woman Who Still Practices The 1000-Year-Old Chinese Foot Binding Tradition

Every country has its own age-old traditions which are still in practice. And upon knowing about them, you might think or say why did this even come into existence in the first place. The very same thing goes for this 100-year-old Chinese foot binding tradition. The foot binding tradition, as the name says, literally asks and makes a woman who practices it to bind her foot for years. This, in turn, leads to a weird and painful kind of body modification. This 1000-year-old foot binding tradition is now on the verge of extinction and there is just one Chinese woman left who still practices this tradition.

This foot binding tradition is more than 100-year-old and falls in line with the body modification traditions which are followed throughout the world. This tradition is slowly dying and as of now, only one Chinese woman practices it. Zhou Guizhen, the 86 year old is one of the few remaining women who were alive when this foot binding tradition was common in China. Though the practice was banned in the year 1912, some people still found ways to practice them secretly.

Meet The Woman Who Still Practices The 1000-Year-Old Chinese Foot Binding Tradition


The practice which in itself has been 1000-year-old was started as a status for young girls coming from wealthy Chinese families. If a woman practiced this, she was considered to be way more attractive than those who didn’t. Zhor Guizhen went through the same. She belongs to a rich family and due to this practice, was married off to a rich man. Talking about the foot binding tradition, she says how much she regrets doing it as it made it impossible for her to dance or even move properly.

Girls right from the age of four were forced into following this dangerous Chinese tradition. The basic reason being, a young girl would have softer bones in their feet. For the process, tight bandages used to be wrapped around the feet of the young girls which in turn, would stop them from growing. This also made sure that the feet get modified into a particular shape.

Every toe was then snapped and bent as close to the heel as possible. This wasn’t done to the big toe which was left in its place. Then the bandages used to wrapped and unwrapped for years to keep the feet as small as possible. 4 inches was considered as the ideal size.


This 1000-year-old foot binding tradition is dangerous in every way. The effects at times used to range from a problem in walking to making a woman stay entirely bedridden. Women were even seen cutting off their own flesh to prevent the pain. Zhor, who still practices this has shared her story and pictures which can easily be painful for everyone. Winter was the preferred season as the cold used to numb the pain. The long-term wrapped bandages used to make it impossible for a Chinese woman to wash her feet.

The pain of having their feet bound due to this 1000-year-old foot binding tradition used be so painful that some families would wait until wintertime before starting the foot binding process on their female children. They did this so they could take advantage of the numbing properties that the cold winter weather would have on the girls’ feet.

The bandages for this foot binding used to be wrapped for so long that women would never be able to wash their feet easily. They would only wash their feet once or twice a week at most, making their feet smell and further aggravating the infections that would set in on the foot.

Chinese women who used to reach the size of four inches were considered as the silver lotus. And those who used to get their feet shrunk to three inches were considered as the golden lotus. The shoes worn by these Chinese women were made by their own hands. Though Zhou Guizhen is the last woman who practices this 1000-year-old Chinese foot binding tradition, one cannot deny that the pain which every woman had gone through cannot be measured.

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