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The Ottoman Empire was the center of interactions between Asia and Europe for six centuries (read more)

Featured Article: Foot binding

A shoe for bound feet
Footbinding was a custom practiced on young females for approximately one thousand years in China, from the tenth century until the early twentieth century. The practice originated among entertainers and members of the Chinese court during the Song Dynasty (960–1279). By the end of the Song dynasty, the practice had spread among the families of the scholarly class which governed China. Initially, foot binding was common only in the wealthiest parts of China, particularly in northern China. However, by the late Qing Dynasty, foot binding had become popular among people of all social classes except the poorest, who needed able-bodied women to work the fields. Women with bound feet wore special, tiny shoes decorated with beautiful embroidery. Since they were unable to do labor, the tiny feet were a symbol of privilege and wealth. Girls with small, bound feet had a better chance of getting a higher bride price.

When a girl was between the ages of three and eight years old, the four small toes on each foot were folded over and bound tightly with long bandages, which were re-wrapped every one or two days. The pressure of the bandages caused the bones to break and force the arch upward into a form referred to as “lotus foot.” The feet would not grow any longer than 3-6 inches (10-15 cm), leaving the adult woman with small and dysfunctional feet. Foot binding finally ended during the twentieth century, when Chinese and Western missionaries campaigned against it, and it was prohibited by the nationalist and Communist governments.

Popular Article: Ancient Egypt

Map of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt as a general historical term broadly refers to the civilization of the Nile Valley between the First Cataract and the mouths of the Nile Delta, from circa 3300 B.C.E. until the conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.E. As a civilization based on irrigation, it is the quintessential example of a hydraulic empire. It was one of the oldest, and the longest, human civilizations.

Egypt has been a great source of inspiration and of interest for Europeans especially, who regard it as of almost mysterious significance. Ancient Egyptian contributions to knowledge in the areas of mathematics, medicine, and astronomy continue to inform modern thought.