Original source behind Lotus shoes

10 years, 7 months ago 58
Posted in: Doll Accessories


In response to my first post regarding these lotus shoes, there were some who questioned the authenticity of my shoe design on the grounds that the top part of the shoe is Han while the sole is Manchu-two different traditions and cultures. Although I have absolutely no problem with taking liberties with historical accuracy for the sake of achieving the highest expression of creativity possible, this particular project was actually entirely based on a real, authentic lotus shoe. And now I give you the source for my inspiration. Behold this antique beauty!

This picture is from a book written by one of my favorite authors, Beverly Jackson. It’s called “Splendid Slippers: A thousand years of an erotic tradition”, and this photograph is from page 106. Here is an excerpt from the text:


“Exceptionally rare silver couched, pink slipper, length 4 inches. Although made for a bound foot, the shoe sits on a Manchu-style mid-sole wooden pedestal painted white, height 1 1/2 inches. It probably belonged to the Han Chinese concubine of a Manchu gentleman, thus explaining the unusual fusion of styles.” -Beverly Jackson

It’s a wonderful book which is one of my prized possessions. I bought it a couple of years ago and as soon as I saw the picture of this little shoe, I knew I was going to make it. It’s just so exquisite. I’ve actually recently had the honor of becoming personally acquainted with the author, which is an interesting story for another time.


And here is more silver shoes. I had them gold plated and painted with synthetic-based enamel. I really enjoyed playing with colors, but it’s actually really difficult to lay the paint on evenly on such a small surface and then get the shades of color to come out right after thermal stabilizing aka, baking. You may think that your blue is the blue you want, but the temperature changes and distorts the tones, which makes it difficult to guess what it’s going to end up looking like in the end. Also, they are really tiny shoes and, well, let’s just say I cursed a lot while painting them.


But I’m more than pleased with the results. Which one is your favorite?

58 Responses

  1. Hazel says:

    How interesting! Incidentally, when you posted that first journal about these slippers, I was interested enough to read Splendid Slippers on google books (http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=0z_GjuiW5l4C&printsec=frontcover). I enjoyed it very much. I would just love to hear your story about meeting the author!

    I can’t decide which one is my favorite! I love the blue one, but I think I love the red one more by a tiny bit. I’ve always been enraptured by the original silver, though…

  2. Jayne says:

    Absoutely brilliant,as usual:)
    I really love the red and white shoe. I can’ wait to see the costumes which will go with these shoes.
    Also, please tell the story of your meeting with the author.

  3. helvella says:

    Aqua, I think it has the best color contrast with the metal and I like how it doesn’t have the white.

  4. MissLk says:

    Dear Marina,

    These tiny treasures are breathtakingly beautiful! I love the combination of gold and blue. Somehow the turquoise on gold touches me the most though I cannot verbalize the reasons.

    Will these be part of your Berlin solo or available for purchase/collecting soon?

    enchanted again,

  5. Marina says:

    One of these pretty shoes will be on a doll in the Berlin show. Which one? Well, that’s a secret of course, but not for very much longer.
    Very soon now you shall see the doll, and oh, it is beautiful!

  6. Habox says:

    Light blue.

  7. The Old Maid says:

    Both blue ;) They all are fabulous!

  8. Jenny H says:

    They are ALL so beautiful! Can’t wait to see the doll!!!

  9. Oh Marina you tease! I can’t wait to see the doll and te shoe, and the whole story combined and brought to fruition!!
    will she also be a han-manchu concubine?

    My favourite… goodness, perhaps the teal coloured one?…. but I think the navy and gold combination is the most eye catching.

  10. Marina says:

    Monika…..for god’s sake get out of my head! You are creeping me out.
    Perhaps you would care to guess the rest of my show projects while you’re at it?

  11. Eiko says:

    Wow, all the colours look great. It’s hard to pick a favourite. Tho if I had to, I’d go with the teal one.

    I really like these coloured shoes. Would you ever consider painting your other silver shoes (the slippers and stilettos) in this way?

  12. Amarilli says:

    Dear Marina, those are all to eat up ;)
    It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I find especially touching the top one (darker blue), perhaps because of the slight colour difference between the ribbon and the enamel, and I like the white pedestal. It’s very particular, “unique”, and has a lot of character imho.
    But all are fabulous.
    Looking forward to see the doll!

  13. Leigh in ME says:

    Love the enamel, I really love the gold and lt. turquoise, such a beautiful combo!

    will you do your regular stilettos with the enamel as well? That would be VERY cool!

  14. Cassaundra says:

    Of course the shoes are all gorgeous! Although I was initially torn between the dark blue shoe and the red one (I love the additional detail the white base provides, the color contrast between the gold and dark blue is absolutely stunning.

    Hope to see this technique on shoe accessories soon. Thanks for taking time to post!

  15. jslord says:

    I love all the colors, but the turquoise best. It matches Cixi’s accessories, although she would never have worn it. She hated bound feet.

  16. Terri says:

    Red is my fav!

    Really a Manchu concubine!!!

    I can’t wait!!!!

  17. Maura says:

    I too like the dark blu/gold best.
    A han-manchu concubine (anything to do with this story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Xiao_Xian)? I am looking foward to seeing her…:)

  18. Desiree says:

    These shoes are very interesting and near to the original.
    I saw Lotusfeet one time and was shocked – these feet are broken when girls are very young so that they find a rich husband. Who knows how much hurts are behind that?
    Today in some parts of China this tradition is still alive – so Marinas doll hides a little bit of history.


  19. Desiree says:

    I forgot,

    The red ones are my fav :)

  20. I like the teal one and the orangeyred one.

  21. Jayne Wourms says:

    I like them all, but my favorite has to be the robin’s egg blue shoe with the gold interior. Very beautiful combination. Very Faberge like in it’s striking tones.

  22. Iren says:

    Здраствуйте Марина:)
    Я уже целую вечнось жду от ввас ответа, я давно выслала журналы, но из за вулкана не вкурсе получили ли вы их?
    Напишите пожалуйста…

  23. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marina Bychkova, non solo KAWAII. non solo KAWAII said: Wow @Enchanted_Doll A closer look at my silver ED lotus shoes, as well as the source of inspiration behind the design http://bit.ly/a50dSo […]

  24. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kaikida, Kaikida. Kaikida said: M. Bychkova. More tiny miracles to draw inspiration from: http://bit.ly/baLcwj is really a pleasure to follow her. ) […]

  25. Kirsten says:

    More shoes! They’re so beautiful, Marina! The dark blue one has to be my favorite, but they’re all exceptional.

  26. Eva says:

    Those are stunning! I love the turquoise and red versions. They really have extra pop! :)

  27. kelly says:

    The teal/light blue is my favorite. I can’t wait to see all you’ve been doing lately, Marina! Awesome awesome awesome.

  28. Sandra says:

    How lovely !!

    My favs are the red (I love the white pedestal) and the turquoise one (colors are so bright !!)

    I can’t wait to se the pictures of the Berlin show. I’m sure their will be many surprises and new dolls

  29. Sonia Anne S says:

    The dark blue with gold is heavenly!

  30. Sara says:

    Oh my goodness, I JUST became familiar with that book when I read it about two weeks ago. I thought that photo looked familiar :) Awesome!!

  31. They are all so lovely. I think the top one catches my eye the most. Superb details.

  32. Taniusa says:

    but I like 1 and 4. very nice

  33. Ann says:

    I am a China girls .中国
    This kind of shoes are very cruel , i know.Now,we don’t use it.A Renowned woman named Pan Jinlian(潘金莲)
    She is from one book named(金瓶梅)Not Another Teen Movie.
    Her feet is sexuality, but I think it’s cruel and angry……
    Everycountry is same.I know.
    self-restrained underwaist at Elizabeth time

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