A fascinating and haunting exploration of the bound foot in Chinese culture. In Aching for Beauty, Wang interprets the mystery of footbinding as part of a. The earliest mention of foot binding in Chinese history may date to the 21st century B.C., when the founder of the Xia dynasty was said to have married a fox fairy. ACHING FOR BEAUTY: Footbinding in China by Wang Ping. Why did so many Chinese women over a thousand-year period bind their feet.

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Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

I abandoned this book only because I got sick of reading her interpretations on bound feet and also several paragraphs seemed to not have any point. A book that was left by my mother in my book shelves. Paperbackpages. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Wang Ping achingg to language and literature in examining the deep cultural and power structures involved in this agonizing tradition.

Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China

A fascinating and haunting exploration of the bound foot in Chinese culture. University of Minnesota Press. University of Minnesota Press Coming soon. Is it that we really aren’t too far apart in these practices from the old practice of foot binding?

Why did so many Chinese women over a thousand-year period bind their feet, enduring rotting flesh, throbbing pain, and hampered mobility throughout their lives? Then it was like pulling teeth. If you read only that section out of the whole book, you would not have known Aching For Beauty was about footbinding.

Aching for Beauty

Other editions – View all Aching for Beauty: Wang Ping has succeeded triumphantly in this provocative and engaging book. By first examining the root of her own girlhood desire, Wang unleashes a fascinating inqu When Wang Ping was nine years old, she secretly set about binding her feet with elastic bands.


I’m still not convinced. I still enjoyed it. Wang herself is one of our most mutable chuna, novelist, short story writer, editor, translator, academic-and, while being an impressive researcher, she’s artist enough here to guide us smoothly through this tangle of fascinating, esoteric, and not infrequently gleefully appalling material.

I also liked the passages by other women describing their experiences. She begins with a preface in which she describes her personal experience with footbinding. I really wanted to understand the cultural and social reasons for ahing. I-Ching rated it it was amazing Jun 13, By beginning with a disturbing strip tease that exposes the vulnerability and, to our eyes, grotesqueness, of lotus feet, and then carefully, even reverently, binding them up again with layer after layer of meticulously crafted and keenly sensitive extrapolations of their profound social, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual significance, she carries her readers beyond the pornographic into the cathartic.

I only got through the first chapter before bringing it back to the library. I didn’t know much about the practice of foot-binding; this is a well-researched history of foot-binding.

The book reads like a master’s thesis, which it probably is. Achieving Beauty through Violence pp. Some of the connections she makes, for example, the bound foot to the Lacanian phallus, speak to the work’s origin as her dissertation, but overall her insights are well worth the time spent reading. First examining the root of her own girlhood desire for tiny feet — years after footbinding had been outlawed in China — Wang then probes an astonishing range of literary references, addresses the relationship between beauty and pain, and discusses the intense female bonds that footbinding fostered in endeavoring to demystify this complex phenomenon.

Because the author is also a poet and a novelist, her literary gifts are everywhere evident, particularly in her deft analysis of the language and literature of the golden lotuses.


The Fabric of Masquerade. She has a Ph. To ask other readers questions about Aching for Beautyplease sign up. This book describes the chilling and tragic history of beauty via footbinding in China that began around the 11th century, flourished in the Ming Dynasty, and was eclipsed in the Qing Dynasty in Acing 06, Darlene rated it liked it.

However, the topic was amazing and incredibly tense. I got through about half of it.

Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China by Wang Ping

This I read for research for my latest book I am working on. It demonstrated the connection between pleasure and pain. The description on the back of “Aching for Beauty” reads: At times I feel the author may have read more into the practice than I would have but her conclusions are not outlandish. Account Options Sign in.

Footbinding in China Ping Wang Snippet view – This book was rather high-level philosophy, some parts becoming too much of a disertation comparing it’s content to other chinese writers. Caroline rated it really liked it May 06, That being said, this was a very interesting, informative, albeit disturbing book about the history, social and cultural reasons for foot binding and definitely worth reading.

Project MUSE – Aching For Beauty

I learned a lot, appreciated the pictures. Recommended for anyone interested in Chinese history and culture. But, there were interesting chapters on other subjects Also, the part when she talked about half-animal-half female forms in other mythologies such as the Sphinx or the mermaid and compared them with “hooved women” of China, was plain irritating. Footbinding in China Ping Wang No preview available – Jun 04, Nicole rated it it was amazing.