After what seems a very long break Jennifer Hughes got our programme under way again with a very interesting talk entitled “Hats and bound feet”.
Jennifer brought with her a wonderful personal collection of costumes, hats and shoes which she displayed for members to enjoy. She explained that in the past Han Chinese women would stay at home and were respected for their embroidery. To start with it was the upper classes who stitched but in time the craft filtered down and women would buy silks and threads from pedlars.
Chinese girls had their feet bound from the age of 5 as women were not expected to do anything. The big toe was left and the remaining four were taped back. Nobody saw the foot bare and a sleeping sock would be worn at night times. It was considered a status symbol as well as a mark of beauty.
Jennifer then went on to show a variety of hats which were embroidered with a variety of animals, symbols and flowers. She explained that pom poms and tassels were added to children’s hats to keep spirits away and a tail at the back of a hat identified that the wearer wanted to be a scholar.
Report and photos by Ros