bound feet vertical These Are China's Last Living Foot Binding Survivers

Supposedly inspired by the tiny feet of a 10th century court dancer, teenie tiny “lotus” feet that were under three-inches long were all the rage in China for centuries. There were various attempts to ban the ancient practice of wrapping the feet in progressively tighter bindings to retard their current size (via broken toes curled under the ball of the feet) and reduce their future growth, but it continued into the 20th century. Even after a mostly effective ban in 1912, it lasted decades longer in rural areas of China. The feet of those now elderly women, now living legacies, are not often discussed. But in Living History: Bound Feet Women of China, a nearly 10-year photo project funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign, photographer Jo Farrell captured both incredible modern images and learned the personal stories of women with bound feet. We asked Farrell about her work, which will be shown at the British Council in Hong Kong on March 23.