What would you be willing to do to Enhance your Beauty?

February 10, 2016

According to historical accounts, foot binding appeared in China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1276 AD).

The process of foot binding often started between the ages of four and seven. Feet were soaked in a blood and herb mixture. Toes were broken. Then the arch was broken. There was extreme pain since no pain relief was used. It is estimated that in a thousand years about two billion women went through the process.

Manchu women did not bind their feet, and the Manchu leaders of the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911 AD) attempted, but with little success, to stop foot binding among the mostly Han (the majority in China) women who continued the practice.

In 1928, the Nationalist government announced plans to do away with foot binding. This attempt to end foot binding met with mixed success. In rural areas, large feet were still considered unattractive and unacceptable and the practice of foot binding continued.

While working in China for National Geographic Magazine on a three part Marco Polo series, Michael Yamashita, a veteran photographer, went in search of women who had bound feet. He found them living in remote urban villages. Yamashita’s book Marco Polo: A Photographer’s Journey was published April 5, 2011.

Even in 19th century San Francisco, there were Chinese girls and women with bound feet. Source: Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco

In most of China, like all countries, social and sexual customs resist rapid change. For millions of women, the practice would continue until 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party came to power under Mao. That is when the popularity of foot binding to enhance a woman’s beauty—according to the men who wanted women to suffer for what they thought was beauty—ended.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Book Promotion for “My Splendid Concubine” on Sale for $0.99

January 16, 2016

“My Splendid Concubine” is based on a true story. A larger-than-life bronze statue of Robert Hart, ordered by the Emperor of China, was placed on the Bund in Shanghai, China to honor this Irishman, and it stood for several decades before the Japanese removed it during World War II and turned the metal into bullets. It took almost a decade to research and write this novel.

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Based on REAL #LoveStory
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99 cent sale from Jan 16 - 18 2016

Thanks to his live-in Dictionary
He became China’s godfather of modernism
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______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Two 99 cent sale Jan 16 - 18 2016

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The 1000-hand Guan Yin is about more than Deaf Dancing

January 6, 2016

In the United States, if a public school were to attempt teaching young, deaf and/or disabled students in the art of an intricate dance and required them to drill repeatedly as if they were in the Marine Corps, humanitarians and feminists—due to the attractive young women—would cry foul and soon there would be pressure to cancel it, make it illegal, or hold investigations. There might even be boycotts and protests.

As for autocratic corporate Charter schools that are stealing money from the community-based, democratic public schools in the United States, forget it. Corporations are in it for the higher test scores so they can brag and hijack more children from the public schools to boost profits.

In addition, critics of China infected with the Racist Sinophobia Virus (RSV), a mental illness learned while growing up, might chime in to crucify the Middle Kingdom once again for crimes against humanity reminding us—with more lies and exaggerations—of Tibet, censorship, and more.


From China (Thousand-hand ~ Guan Yin ~ 千手音 )

But when it was established in 1987, the China Disabled People’s Art Troupe (CDPAT) was an amateur performance troupe supported by the government with members recruited from around the country.

In 2002, that all changed, after the troupe’s first commercial performance. The China Daily reported, “After its first commercial performance, in 2004, the troupe made 10 million yuan (US$1.21 million).”

Tai Lihua, the lead dancer and captain of the CDPAT, has visited many countries with her troupe. For instance, they have performed at the John F. Kennedy Centre in New York City and the Teatro alla Scala in Venice, two of the world’s most prestigious theatres.

The dance of the Thousand-Hand Guan Yin is named after the Bodhisattva of compassion, revered by Buddhists as the Goddess of Mercy, who is a compassionate being that watches for and responds to the people in the world who cry out for help such as the deaf and disabled members of the CDPAT.

Being deaf and mute, these disabled performers endured pain and suffering in vigorous training simply to deliver a message of love, and when you watch the embedded videos and see close ups of the performers’ faces, you will see their dedication.

When I first watched this video, I was reminded of Amy Chua, the Tiger Mother, and how she relentlessly drilled her daughters in piano and violin. US critics raged at this after Chua’s memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was published.  However, the oldest daughter, Sophia, went to Harvard and enjoys playing the piano.

Often, the rewards of enduring the pain and suffering it takes to achieve near perfection in an art such as playing piano or learning intricate dances comes only after years of challenging and demanding repetition.

What’s amazing about this dance troupe is that all the performers are deaf, making the choreography to the music even more incredible, and the difficulties encountered in training are beyond imagining.

However, four instructors, who can hear and speak, signal the rhythm of the music from four corners of the stage/room, and with repetition and diligent practice, the performance is nearly flawless.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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China’s Ancient Opera still Alive with Mao Wei Tao

December 1, 2015

Mao Wei Tao is considered a living treasure in China—she has an estimated 20 million fans. She imitates men in the opera roles she plays—a reversal from Imperial China when women were not allowed on stage so men played female roles.

“In 1923, the training of female actors for this art form was set up. Since 1928, the Shaoxing opera troupes, consisting of solely female actors, began their performances in Shanghai. In a few years, females impersonating males had become the most important feature of this opera form, and at the same time the Yue opera became well known all over China.”

East China’s Zhejiang province gave China’s Shaoxing Opera Mao Wei Tao, who in her decades long career on the stage is best known as an outstanding male impersonator with a cult following of women.

I was introduced to Yue Opera in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province more than a decade ago.

Mao Wei Tao and her husband have a theater company near the shores of the famous Westlake. My wife translated while I watched the live-opera performance in fascination.

The costumes were lavish and the acting and opera was dramatic while classical Chinese music played in the background.

The challenge today is to keep this form of Chinese opera alive, because the audience for opera is shrinking dramatically in China while remaining popular with the older generation.

Television, movies and the Internet are claiming the shorter attention spans of younger Chinese.

Mao Wei Tao, considered an innovative genius on stage, adapts and works to keep the art form alive. According to her husband, no two performances are exactly alike.

In November 2010, she performed in Taiwan as a cultural ambassador from the mainland. Today, “the company continues to tour and has staged productions in Paris, Hong Kong, Korea, Macau, Taiwan, the United States, Singapore, Spain, Holland, France, Belgium and Japan.”  – bangkokfestivals.com

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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California’s Chinese during the Gold Rush: Part 2 of 2

November 25, 2015

Guest post by John Putnam

In the mines the Chinese were often forced to work sites that others had abandoned as no longer productive and, by hard work, made these claims pay.

As more men arrived in the gold fields and the amount of surface gold dwindled, tensions increased. Thirty-five Chinese showed up at Camp Salvado in 1849 where men from El Salvador had worked and here they found rich placer deposits.

White miners soon arrived and pushed the Chinese out, but they were taken in at another nearby site called Camp Washington where still more gold was found

Chinese flocked to a place where they were accepted and Tuolumne County’s Chinese Camp survives to this day.

But by 1850, a $20 per month tax on each foreign miner was imposed.

By 1852 Chinese were forced from Mormon Island and Horseshoe Bar along the American River, then from Colombia in the southern mines and Yuba City in the northern.

In 1856 Chinese paid $70,000 for the right to mine in Mokelumne Hill.

By 1868 almost all Chinese had left the mines to work on the transcontinental railroad or in Chinese operated businesses.

Return to or start with  Part 1

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Reprinted by permission.
First published May 23, 2011 in My gold rush tales.
John Rose Putnam is the author of four novels.

The River of Corn

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California’s Chinese during the Gold Rush: Part 1 of 2

November 24, 2015

Guest post by John Putnam

Of all the diverse peoples that poured into California after the discovery of gold, none stood out more than the Chinese. Radically different in dress, language and culture these new men were first welcomed because of their willingness to work hard for low wages at any task presented them.

John McDougall, the 2nd Governor of California, described them as “one of the most worthy of our newly adopted citizens.”

At the start of 1849 only 54 Chinese were in California. By1852 there were nearly 12,000 living here and only seven of them women. Because of turmoil in Canton another 20,000 would arrive that same year.

A community of Chinese Americans quickly grew in San Francisco. They marched in Fourth of July parades and rejoiced at California’s statehood, but celebrated their lunar new year in their traditional way.

In 1852 a Cantonese opera was performed at the American Theater and in 1854 a Chinese language newspaper began publishing.

The Kong Chow Association formed to help the new arrivals adapt to their new home. Then another, the Chew Yick, elected Norman As-sing, an English speaking owner of the Macao and Woosung Restaurant as their leader. Soon there were six associations called tongs that combined to form the Six Companies to better represent Chinese interest.

Continued on November 25, 2015 in Part 2

____________________

Reprinted by permission.
First published May 23, 2011 in My gold rush tales.
John Rose Putnam is the author of four novels.

 

The River of Corn

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China versus the U.S. when it comes to Women in Positions of Power

September 29, 2015

According to Forbes.com, Canada is the best country in the world to be a woman, and India is the worst.  The U.S. was ranked #6 of the twenty countries surveyed. The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

Starting with the I Ching, The Book of Changes, almost five thousand years ago, the central focus of Chinese philosophy has been how to live an ideal life and how best to organize society.

When the Communist Party of China gained power in 1949, previous schools of Chinese philosophy, except Legalism, were denounced as backward and purged during the Great Leap Forward and during the insanity of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

Most Chinese think that true advancement and growth should only happen slowly, at a steady, measured pace, which means to grow but grow slow like an oak tree while following a well thought out plan to bring about change.

Even the United States doesn’t change that fast.

In fact, it took almost ninety years to free the slaves, and women first sought the right to vote in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention. Then seventy-two years later in 1920, American women finally earned the right to vote when the Nineteenth Amendment was adopted by Congress and was ratified by the states becoming a national law.

Global map showing womens rights

The last time women had relative freedom in China was in the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty when Emperor Wu Zetian, a woman, ruled the country.

Since 1982, when China ratified its Constitution, women in China have gained more freedom, power and rights than at any other time in China’s history including the Tang Dynasty when Wu Zetian ruled as the only female emperor in China’s history.

Anyone that does not consider this progress is stupid, blind and deaf.

Critics in the West have pointed out that under the Communists, no woman has ruled China, and I’d counter that no woman has ever ruled the United States—yet.

In 2013 Lin Yandong, a senior Party official responsible for winning over non-Communists, was elected Vice Primer of China, one of the country’s senor leaders. She’s now one of China’s four vice premiers making her not only the most powerful woman in China, but also one of the most powerful in the world. She is one of two women in China’s 25-member Politburo. The other woman is Sun Chunlan.

Chinese women’s participation in politics has grown since 1982. For instance, in 1952 only 12% of China’s National Congress (NPCC) was women. In 2014, of the 2,959 seats in the NPCC, more than 23% of the seats (699) were held by women compared to about 19% in the United States Congress. Out of 190 countries, China is ranked #58 versus the U.S. that’s ranked #76. – Women in national parliaments

“Chinese women leaders have much in common. They generally all have a good education background, being mainly science majors, and solid experience in government. They are of a caliber equal to that of their male counterparts,” an All-China Women’s Federation expert said. For the United States, I’m thinking of Sarah Palin—enough said.

If you hear anyone demanding faster change in China, be cautious. After all, China seems to be moving faster than the United States when it comes to women holding positions of power.

Why do so many of China’s critics in the West expect China to move faster than the United States?

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

Where to Buy

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


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