Monday, June 30, 2014

There are Lilies and then There are Lilies

Yesterday afternoon P and I were walking around downtown and went into an antique place that has a collection of bizarre items that are not for sale.  I've seen these one time before, but I really saw them for the first time while I was drawing them.  They're labeled "Golden Lilies--Chinese Shoes for Bound Feet-- Not for Sale."  I drew one shoe from each of the two pairs in the case. 

At first they looked like doll shoes or else those odd tiny high heeled shoes that show up in antique shops for people who collect miniature shoes.  They 're exquisitely crafted out of silk and leather with silk thread embroidery.  But the longer I drew them the creepier they became.  I noticed that the laces were actually not laces at all but very thin threads that had been loosened.  And then it occurred to me that they were probably loosened to remove them from the woman after she died.  Or after she got old and no longer was made to wear fancy shoes.  They had obviously been sewn onto her feet, which means the woman had had to keep them on day and night.  To add insult to the whole thing, the shoes had very shapely little high heels, the better to pitch the woman forward and onto her poor deformed and mutilated toes. 

To balance out the grisly shoes I drew a real lily, a Peruvian one, that was in the middle of the table at Laurey's Catering.


  1. those shoes always disturb me, too. i like the other lilies. barbie wears golden lilies, right?

  2. Barbie seems to wear sad golden lilies to me. Her feet are permanently deformed to fit her shoes. In a yoga class I used to be in the teacher would tell us to press the balls of our feet out in order to activate a posture, and she called this "Barbie doll feet".