Date: 19th century

Culture: Chinese minority (Manchu)

Medium: silk, leather, cotton, wood

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Van S. Merle-Smith, 1941

Accession Number: C.I.41.110.272a, b


The Manchu peoples did not subscribe to the custom of footbinding practiced widely throughout China. Manchu footwear, for both men and women, had its own peculiarities, however. Although the foot itself was not reshaped, the soles were elevated on platforms two to four inches high. Women's shoes, like this one, were more elaborately decorated than men's, with bright embroidery on colored silk. The hooflike shape of the pedestal serves to stabilize the wearer.