custom was first adopted 1,000 years ago and was seen as a symbol of beauty and wealth
The horrific Chinese custom was first adopted 1,000 years ago among courtesans, after a Tang Dynasty emperor fell in love with a mistress who wrapped her tiny feet in silk when she danced.
The bizarre custom soon became entrenched in upper-class court performers before spreading to all socio-economic divisions.
It quickly became the ultimate measure of a woman’s beauty at the time.
Foot binding also became popular as a means of displaying wealth.
Women from rich families, who did not need their feet to work, could afford to have them bound.
To mould the so-called ‘lotus foot’, girls aged between four and nine had their toenails cut extremely short and then their feet wrapped in tight bandages.