The shoes located in this gallery originate from the countries of East Asia (Japan, China, and Manchuria). The majority of these shoes were acquired by Lucy Morse in her travels to East Asia.
In this collection there is a large number of shoes made for women with bound feet. Foot binding was a Chinese custom practiced on young girls and women for over 1,000 years. The first evidence of this practiced is dated from 10th century. The custom continued to be practiced till the early 20th century. The foot was bound to cause a woman’s feet to appear smaller, meeting the ideal of beauty for a Chinese woman.
Another type of shoe displayed is the “Geta” style sandal. Unique to the Island of Japan, a Geta sandal is traditionally elevated by a wooden heal and would have been worn with traditional Japanese clothing, such as a kimono. These sandals also would have been worn in wet weather to keep the foot out of water on the ground.