Lotus – Bound to be Beautiful

2006

A lotus is a term for a woman’s bound foot after it has been broken and mutilated to conform to a specific beauty standard established in the early Song Dynasty. Foot binding was an erotic tradition practiced by Han women of all social classes in China from the 9th to the 20th Century. The goal was to stop the foot from growing, keeping it as small as possible, ideally 4” (10.2cm) long. Bound feet were a prerequisite for marriage; for a thousand years women willingly endured excruciating pain and lifelong disability to be considered desirable. Without any real economic power during this era, a woman’s only trading asset was her sex appeal, which she leveraged to ensure her survival.

Restrictive fashions such as corsets, chastity belts, crinolines, high heels, pushup bras and make-up are all associated primarily with our standards of femininity and womanhood. Although notions of beauty differ in every culture and change with time, over the course of history women seem to have been subjected to a much harsher physical standard than men.

 

Materials:

Indian silk, bead embroidery. 418 Austrian crystals, 273 fresh water Pearls, Rubies, Garnets, Tourmalines, thousands of glass seed beads. Ball jointed, porcelain, china paint, mohair, industrial springs, mohair, sterling silver, enamel. 15” (38.1cm) tall.

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