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In the 19th and early 20th century, dancers with bound feet were popular, as were circus performers who stood on prancing or running horses.

Bound feet nevertheless became a significant differentiating marker between Han women and Manchu or other banner women.

Most non-Han Chinese people, such as the Manchus, Mongols and Tibetans, did not bind their feet, however, some non-Han ethnic groups did.

This louche practice was called "toast to the golden lotus" and lasted until the late Qing dynasty.

however, no other foreign visitors to Yuan China mentioned the practice, including Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo (who nevertheless noted the dainty walk of Chinese women who took very small steps), perhaps an indication that it was not a widespread or extreme practice at that time.

One story relates that during the Shang dynasty, the concubine Daji, who was said to have clubfoot, asked the Emperor to make footbinding mandatory for all girls in court so that her own feet would be the standard of beauty and elegance.

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