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Shvoong Home>Books>The Feet of the Concubine Review

The Feet of the Concubine

Book Review   by:Teodoro Nogueira     Original Author: Kathryn Harrison
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This abstract was translated from Los Pies de la Concubina
 
As westerners, we feel fascinated by the false believe that the bandaged feet of chinese ladies have stopped growing sometime in their chilhood. Therefore, we imagine beautiful torn eyed ladies with feet of children. The so called "Golden Lotus" foot was the most sensual and erotic part of a chinese woman's body. The chinese family that refused this practice regarding the feet of its female children should not expect a good perspective to have them properly married in the future.
In any case, a bandaged foot is a broken foot, gradually tortured to bone breakage and muscle incapacity, since it keeps on growing in biological armony with the rest of the body.
In order to achieve a reduced foot in the traditional way, the four little fingers were folded back towards the heel, and were afterwards bandaged in the form of a wedge. Chinese female children used to have their feet so folded and bandaged when they were between five and eight years old. This bandage was intended to be carried about for the rest of their lifes, being a cause of strong pains and health problems. Reducing female feet was a common practice up to the year 1911, when this practice was finally abolished.
"The Feet of the Concubine" relates Mai's story. This woman has been tortured in the mentioned way since her childhood, in spite of which she will rebel against her fate, searching for a place she will never find in this world. Mai escapes a marriage that her own family had imposed upon her, only to work at a brothel until her meeting Arthur Cohen. This man is an Australian who struggles for the abolition of the thousand years old torture to chinese women. Nevertheless, he will become erotically obsessed with the feet of the young woman.
Published: May 08, 2006   
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