The shape of these bound foot shoes, with their very pointed toes and high curved instep, identifies their origin as North China. Their length, six inches, identifies their approximate age as early 20th century. Older golden lotus shoes, as they were called, usually were several inches shorter. Each of these black silk shoes has satin stitch embroidery with a butterfly, symbol of joy; a pomegranate, symbol of fertility, and several types of blossoms. The wear on the little soles and silk uppers shows these shoes were favored by their owner, who would have been among the last generation of women subjected to the Chinese practice of footbinding, which was outlawed in 1911 at the end of the Qing Dynasty. Of numerous books and articles concerning such shoes and their cultural significance, we recommend "The Three Inch Golden Lotus: A Collection of Chinese Bound Foot Shoes," by Glenn Roberts and Valerie Steele in the Arts of Asia magazine of March/April 1997.