Lotus Shoe Exhibition at TRC, Leiden

Pair of Chinese lotus shoes, dated around 1900. Pair of Chinese lotus shoes, dated around 1900. Courtesy Textile Research Centre, Leiden, acc. no. TRC 2009.0208a-b.

From 5th September 2012 until 17th January 2013, the Textile Research Centre in Leiden organised an exhibition about footwear from all over the world. It included a number of delicate lotus shoes from China (from 5 to 12 cm in length for an adult woman). They were part of a growing collection of lotus shoes that the TRC has been building up since 2007. 

These minute shoes, often delicately embroidered, were worn by mainly Han Chinese women up to the early twentieth century. The TRC collection not only includes a range of shoes from different parts of the country, but they also represent different moments, such as weddings, funerals, burials, and so forth. In addition, items relating to the production of lotus shoes including tools, thread and a pattern book, form part of the collection and were also shown at the exhibition.

In order to emphasise the small size of the Han shoes, several pairs of Manchu 'boat' shoes were on display, which look like minature shoes, but are in fact made for normal size feet.

For the 2012/2013 TRC exhibition, click here. See also the TRC digital exhibition Chinese lotus shoes (TRC, Leiden 2018).


Last modified on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 08:08