The Ancient Asia Footwear Trivia

The Japanese Zori has been worn in many parts of Asia which includes Vietnam. This footwear was worn by Japanese soldiers in World War 2 and the Vietnamese insurgents as well. This footwear has been responsible for the mass production of the modern Zori. Footwear in Asia has had a long history and the oldest is found in India, the one worn by temple priests. It also followed some quaint traditions in the past centuries where the Chinese women underwent painful procedure to have smaller feet as it was believed that smaller feet were a sign of prosperity and prestige.

Sandals have traditionally been the most common footwear in the Asian countries for a long time. The Encyclopedia of the History of Japanese Manners and Customs informs us that "Zori" was widely used in Japan as early as the beginning of the 8th century. A Zori is a sandal with a thong held between the toes. The modern Zori is fairly popular amongst Japanese workers and comprises of a wooden straw attached to bicycle tire sole which is usually covered with a cotton rope thong.

Cultural studies in Asia will reveal that the Asia became a mass producer of footwear after the Second World War, and one of the key reasons attributed to this mass rise in production is the influence of the Japanese Zori which was initially made of straw soles and a leather thong that is held between the first and the second toes. This was the footwear of the Vietnamese insurgents later on.

Tourists or serious gap year travelers to Asia might come across several interesting footwear specimens in museums. One of the oldest footwear was found in India, especially in temples of Hindu deities and used by devout Hindus. Mentioned in the Indian scriptures and seen on temple sculptures this footwear is made of wood. It has one wooden block that is held between the toes. Wooden shoes were considered as sacred over leather footwear (animal remains) among devout followers of Hinduism. This footwear is also one of the oldest known in the region.

No China travel is complete without experiences of some quaint traditions which may be still found in rural areas. One such tradition relating to footwear would be the Chinese art of foot binding. A painful procedure this practiced by young girls to contain the foot from growing in size. This was a practice prevalent amongst the high class and the wealthy. The logic behind the practice was that women with small sized feet cannotwork in fields and from here the craze of having small feet started amongst women from wealthy families and soon the procedure became a custom. Woman with small feet size was considered to be a part of affluent society. The ideal length of a bound shoe was three inches; this size was called the Golden Lily. Four inches length was called the Silver Lily.
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