The Chinese practice of foot-binding – contorting the feet of young girls to retain their petiteness – died out in the 20th century.
Photo: Jo Farrell.
A few elderly women in rural villages who underwent the painful custom survive today.
Photo: Jo Farrell.
In the mid-2000s, photographer Jo Farrell travelled across China – mostly rural Yunnan and Shandong – finding dozens of women with bound feet. Some were often 100 years old.
Photo: Jo Farrell.
“It was the only way forward for women,” says Farrell. “They did it because they thought it would give them a better future, a better life.”
Photo: Jo Farrell.
But today, some of them have been ignored and left to themselves in their old age.
Photo: Jo Farrell.
“The humanising photographs are all taken using a Hasselblad camera showing not only their feet but also beautiful portraits of the women and their home surroundings,” said exhibition partner Blue Lotus Gallery.
Photo: Jo Farrell.
Photo: Jo Farrell.
Photo: Jo Farrell.
Photo: Jo Farrell.
Photo: Jo Farrell.
Farrell’s exhibition – Bound – will be shown at Sheung Wan’s Hong Kong Museum of Medical Science between March 18 to 31.

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