Tradition of chinese marriage law

For nearly a decade, British photographer Jo Farrell has been traveling to far-flung Chinese provinces to track down the last surviving women with bound feet. Jo FarrellEight years ago, Farrell, curious if the practice of foot binding still existed, asked a friend in China, who in turn asked her sister, who was overheard by her car driver.
We know that Taobao is the shopping hub for anything possible and in terms of cheongsams, the Chinese website is literally the heaven for both traditional and contemporary dresses! In this post, I shall share with you some of my picks from Taobao stores, which now accept DBS credit cards for payment and delivers to Singapore.
Please note that I have not bought from any of these stores and cannot vouch for credibility or quality of the dresses. If you are not a fan of prints, and also not so keen on the typical sleeveless A-line cheongsam dresses, the understated designs from Sunoom might appeal to you.
The driver revealed that he had a grandmother with bound feet.It was this elderly woman, Zhan Yun Ying, who would become Farrell’s first subject. Pretty soon, Farrell’s translator introduced the photographer to her own grandmother, and a young man on a bus to Beijing invited Farrell to his village to meet the women he knew with bound feet. Snapping her pictures on 12-shot rolls of black-and-white film, Farrell doesn’t crop or edit them in the darkroom. This is the first time I have across cheongsam designs that are more androgynous, bordering towards punk and street style. But she has since uncovered a little-discussed and almost never seen practice that has endured in China’s aging female population. More tips poured in, and her portfolio of subjects continued to grow, reaching now nearly 50 in all.Most of the woman Farrell has interviewed had their feet bound when they were pre-teens, though the practice traditionally began at an even younger age.

Her undoctored pictures don’t only depict the crushed toes and curled arches that mark the cruelty of the practice, but also the women to whom the feet belong, their families, and their possessions.A few years ago, while she was working in marketing for an architectural firm, Farrell moved from San Francisco to Hong Kong to be closer to China and continue her project. In addition, the prints on the dresses are from art work of independent artists in China – definitely a great effort of blending art, tradition and fashion in the designs. For a millennium—from the 10th to 20th centuries—the practice flourished on and off, deeply ingrained in Chinese society. Forgotten by a society that hopes to bury any trace of the “old China” under skyscrapers and technology, the women readily bared their lotus-like feet for Farrell’s project, “Living History.”But time is running out. Bandages would bind the feet in two directions: one crushing the small toes under the ball of the foot, and the other pushing the heel toward the toes to create a steep arch. She is continuing to solicit donations and hopes for a publisher to pick up her book, and a gallery to display a major exhibition of the photographs.Besides, now she has a reputation to keep up.
The lace dress, in particular, appeared to be of higher quality lace material, as observed from the close-up pictures. The scalloped edges at the collar is an interesting addition, whilst the brocade dress looks exquisite on the Caucasian model. Even after it was outlawed in 1912, many women continued to clandestinely bind their daughters’ feet, believing it would make them more attractive to suitors.
Though she has begun building a portfolio of subjects, Farrell fears the remaining foot-binding survivors will slip away without documentation, and, with them, the memory of the harsh practice. She sees a hole in previous ethnographic work documenting foot binding, which has focused on the delicate shoes and the historic context and academic analysis of the practice rather than the actual people who are living with its aftereffects. The women she has photographed are between 80 and 100 years old, and already three of them have passed away in the course of her project.

She plans to return to China for at least a month to photograph as many women as she can find, along with following up on the lives of her previous subjects. Now, as the last remaining women with bound feet become older and frailer, Farrell is returning to China to find more survivors and put her finger to the shutter at least one last time.
And their adult children want [to] make sure I understand this is not what China does, and it would not happen anymore.”The archaic practice has often thought to have affected mainly wealthier Chinese woman, whose bound feet showed they could afford not to toil in the fields. But, Farrell found that almost all the women she spoke to were from lower-class farming families. Many had worked in the fields for seven decades, doing tasks that didn’t require much movement, like digging and husking corn.“It was out of a mother’s love, [they] wanted to do the best for their daughters and this was the way at the time to ensure better prospects” Farrell says.
Prospective mothers-in-law, noting the bound feet, would see the girl had already suffered without complaint and would be a subservient partner to their sons. So me going in and photographing them—they suddenly love the fact they’re the center of attention, they haven’t been the center of attention for so long.” While she’s working, crowds gather around their houses, straining for a peek inside. Farrell makes a point of taking extra photos of the women and their families on a color roll, which she prints the next day and gives as gifts.

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