Chinese Shoe Culture (III) Amazing Women’s Shoes of the Qing Dynasty

Written by Gioia Zhang


Handcrafted embroidery is one of China’s finest skills. It has a long history, and has become a respected tradition. This skill was significantly developed in the Qing dynasty. There were a number of traditional methods of stitching. The Suzhou, Hunan, Shu, and Yue types of stitches were known as the four most famous Chinese stitches. These four embroidery methods had a great influence on the embroidered shoes in the Qing dynasty.

 3 19世纪橙色地福寿纹绣花鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;小脚鞋;三寸金.jpgOrange Embroidered Shoes for Bithday Celebration

3 标题-清代粉地绣花小脚鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;小脚鞋;三寸金莲;.jpgPink Embroidered Bow Shoes

3 标题-清代黑色绣花底鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;.jpgBlack Sole Embroidered Shoes

According to historical research, the Chinese foot binding tradition began at the end of the Five Dynasties period. It became popular during the Ming dynasty, the Qing dynasty, and the period of the Republic of China. The foot binding practice reached its peak in the Qing dynasty. Han Chinese women from every social class were expected to bind their feet. Little feet were widely appreciated in that time.

3 标题-清代花卉纹三寸金莲小脚鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;小脚鞋;三寸金莲;花卉纹;.jpgFlower Embroidered Bow Shoes

3 标题-清代粉地绣花鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;.jpgPink Embroidered Shoes

3 标题-19世纪紫地花卉纹绣花鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;小脚鞋;.jpgPurple Flower Embroidered Shoes

3 标题-19世纪黑地花卉蝙蝠纹刺绣弓鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;小脚鞋;三寸金莲;花卉纹;蝙蝠纹; 通用描述-清代弓鞋;.jpgBlack Bats and Flowers Embroidered Bow Shoes

3 标题-19世纪红地蝴蝶纹绣花弓鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;.jpgRed Butterflies Embroidered Bow Shoes

The history of bound-feet shoes, also called “bow shoes”, is said to be a history of blood and tears for the Han Chinese women. These fancy looking shoes reflected the harsh foot binding ideology that was prevalent in China’s feudal society.

3 清末粉地花卉纹“三寸金莲”高跟,一般见客时套在小脚鞋上,以增加鞋的高度,该类脚跟的使用不太普遍。面料是粉红刺绣花卉纹缎.jpgPink floral high heels

3 清代蓝地花草纹弓靴  标题-清代蓝地花草纹弓靴 关键词-清代弓鞋;小脚鞋;三寸金莲;花草纹.jpgBlue Bottom Floral Bow Shoes

3 标题-19世纪红地盘金绣弓鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;小脚鞋;三寸金.jpgRed and Gold Thread Embroidered Bow Shoes

3 标题-19世纪花卉纹刺绣高跟小脚鞋 关键词-清代弓鞋;高跟小脚鞋;三寸金莲;花卉纹; 通用描述-清代弓鞋;.jpgFloral Embroidered High-Heeled Bow Shoes

Manchu women, however, didn’t have the foot-binding habit. Therefore their shoes were much larger than the Han Chinese women’s shoes.

3 清代满族蓝缎地梅花纹绣花鞋.jpgBlue Satin Manchu Embroidered Shoes with Plum Blossoms

3 清代满族浅粉地暗八仙.jpgManchu Women’s Light Pink Embroidered Shoes with Eight Immortals Design

3 清光绪 红色缎绣金鱼纹元宝底女棉鞋.jpgRed Silk Cotton-Padded Shoes with Golden Fish Design

Because of the weather and other geographical causes, Manchu women wore shoes with thick soles, commonly known as “horse hoof shoes”. However, as they became older the height of their soles reduced gradually, and sometimes they even wore flat shoes.

3 标题-清乾隆黄缎彩绣皮里马蹄底鞋 关键词-清代旗鞋.jpgYellow Silk Embroidered “Horse Hoof Shoes”

3 标题-清代满族紫地花蝶动物纹刺绣高底鞋 关键词-清代旗鞋;.jpgManchu Purple Embroidered High Heeled Shoes with Animal Design

3 标题-清康熙绿色缎缉米珠珊瑚珠凤纹头尖底鞋 关键词-清代旗鞋.jpgGreensilk Satin Crested Thick-Soled Shoes

3 清代湖色缎绣盘长纹花盆底鞋.jpgEmbroidered “Horse Hoof Shoes” with Lake Blue Silk Strings of Beads

3 清代黄色缎绣花卉纹花盆底鞋.jpgYellow Satin Floral Embroidered “Horse Hoof Shoes”

3 清代蓝缎彩绣暗八仙钉.jpgBlue Satin Embroidered Horse Hoof Shoes with Design of Covert Eight Immortals

3 清代蓝地绣花元宝底棉鞋.jpgBlue Satin Ingot-Shaped Cotton Padded Shoes

3 清代满族白缎地马蹄底鞋.jpgManchu Women’s White Satin Horse Hoof Shoes

3 清代湖色缎绣人物纹元宝底鞋.jpgLake Blue Satin Embroidered Ingot-Shaped Shoes with Character Designs

3 清代蓝地金鱼荷花纹刺绣高底鞋.jpgBlue Satin Ingot-Shaped Cotton Padded Shoes

3 清光绪 红色缎緝线绣花卉纹元宝底棉鞋副本.jpgRed Floral Ingot-Shaped Cotton Padded Shoes

The Manchu women’s shoes became more exquisite and luxurious after hundreds of years of development. These shoes are a landmark of the Qing dynasty’s footwear. People from all over the world have been amazed at the extraordinariness of Qing footwear.


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