井底之蛙

11/7/2006

Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went to Scotland and kissed a fellow

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 10:55 am

Via Cliopatria, a website with Scottish broadsides from 1810-1830. One is obviously satirical, announcing the arrival of a Chinese doctor Dr. Puff Stuff Sham Quirko Ye – Trick. The good doctor’s skill was admired by all the crowned heads of Asia, and he brings to Scotland his miraculous cures. He can grow new teeth, no doubt a popular claim given the state of English dentistry (back then). He can restore lost eyes and limbs. His skills kept the Chinese empress bearing children into her 80th year. He can cure cancer using something that sounds like moxabustion. Most interestingly, to me

He has also brought over the method of bandaging, by which the Chinese ladies confine their feet to that beautiful-smallness, has to be soarcely equal to the size of the great toe-nail of an English woman.

I know that the cult of small feet also existed in Europe, but is interesting to see footbinding presented in a fairly positive sort of way as late as 1830. Dorothy Ko sees the later critique of footbinding as inspired in part by a Western criticism and a new transnational context. I’m reluctant to draw a line where the joke ends and the serious begins in this text, but it seems that footbinding is still admirable here.

Powered by WordPress