Shoes of China's Diverse Ethnic Cultures

The Art of Footwear

By Museum of Ethnic Cultures, Minzu University of China

Museum of Ethnic Cultures, Minzu University of China

Manchu shoes features the high thick sole ranging from several centimeters to two decade centimeters.

Apart from the horse-hoof-stye shoes, there is another kind of shoes whose sole is shaped like a flower pot. Usually designs are embroidered or beads are decorated over the upper or on the heel.

Embroidered Red Satin Shoes with Horse-hoof-shaped SolesOriginal Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

These are traditional Yi shoes. The curled toes make it easier to avoid tripping on the uneven terrain in the mountainous regions where the Yi live.

Embroidered Cloth Shoes with Pointed TipsOriginal Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

This pair of shoes is worn by Tu (Monguor) men. The shoes are in the shape of a double-beam boat and are decorated with patterns of clouds and plum blossoms.

Man's Cloth Shoes Embroidered with Cloud DesignsOriginal Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

These Evenk boots are made from moose leather. Their leather soles provide extra traction, helping the Evenk hunters to walk more efficiently in the snow.

Evenk Moose Leather BootsOriginal Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

"Zizhong" is a word for the "Monk-Official" who were the administrators in Tibet's old theocracy. These boat-shaped boots were worn as part of the costume of a Zizhong.

The vamps of the boots are made of golden silk, while the uppers are made of laminated white cloth that is thick and hardened. The soles are made of double layers of leather, and the top of the uppers are made of burgundy wool.

Zizhong BootsOriginal Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

This is a pair of Mongol men's boots from the early 20th Century.

The boot is wide enough to be lined with leather or felt as well as possibly concealing a knife.

They have distinctive pointed toes, and are decorated with green clouds and eternal knot motifs in green on the uppers and around the heel.

Appliquéd Leather Pointed-toe Boots with Stitched SolesOriginal Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

This is a pair of Mongol women's boots made of embroidered black cloth. Boots like these were popular in farming and pastoral communities.

Cloth boots are light, comfortable to wear and provide good air circulation, but they are not as warm as leather boots.

Embroidered Cloth Boots with Stitched SolesOriginal Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

This is a pair of boots worn by Tatar women. It is made up of two pieces: boots and matching black overboots.

This is so that Tatar women can remove the muddy overboots before entering a tent without needing to take their shoes off.

Woman's Colored Leather Overshoes Stitched with Flower DesignsOriginal Source: http://bwg.muc.edu.cn/

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