It took place during a segment on the social changes that affected Chinese women in the late 13th century. These changes can be illustrated by the practice of female foot-binding. Some early evidence for it comes from the tomb of Lady Huang Sheng, the wife of an imperial clansman, who died in Archaeologists. Foot binding has been illegal in China for a century. But a number of older women, who, continued the traditional custom in secret, are now featuring in a new photography series that aims to bust myths about bound feet.
New research suggests the excruciatingly painful practice of foot-binding has been massively misunderstood. After foot binding was banned it became taboo, and in Chairman Mao ordered anti foot-binding inspectors to publicly shame any bound women they found. “It was considered an old tradition that did not reflect modern China and should be stopped,” Farrell tells me from her flat in Hong Kong.