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" (步步生蓮), a reference to the Buddhist legend of Padmavati under whose feet lotus springs forth.

This story may have given rise to the terms "golden lotus" or "lotus feet" used to describe bound feet; there is, however, no evidence that Consort Pan ever bound her feet.

Foot binding limited the mobility of women, and resulted in lifelong disabilities for most of its subjects, although some women with bound feet working outdoors have also been reported. The practice possibly originated among upper class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in 10th century China, then became popular among the elite during the Song dynasty, eventually spreading to all social classes by the Qing dynasty.

Foot binding was practiced in different forms, and the more severe form of binding may have been developed in the 16th century.

At the end of the Song dynasty, men would drink from a special shoe whose heel contained a small cup.

By 2010 there were 119 boys under five years old for every 100 girls.

Two demographers, John Bongaarts and Christophe Guilmoto, estimate that China is missing more than 60m women and girls.

wrote the first known criticism of the practice: "Little girls not yet four or five years old, who have done nothing wrong, nevertheless are made to suffer unlimited pain to bind [their feet] small.

I do not know what use this is." The earliest archaeological evidence for foot binding dates to the tombs of Huang Sheng, who died in 1243 at the age of 17, and Madame Zhou, who died in 1274.

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