5 / 2004

China - Imperial platform boot with silk upper

In China the possession of boots was considered a demonstration of wealth an superiority. they could only be worn by officials and men with some position in society. A proverb of the day stated: "A man in boots will not speak to a man in shoes". Pain black satin knee-high boots were worn by the Emperor for informal wear an by princes, noblemen and mandarins for general use. This boot with red cloth lining has a beige silk upper, richly embroidered with four-clawed dragons, symbolic for imperial authority, summer peony flowers, rainbows and heavenly clouds. The two-inch thick sole is made of silk-covered pasted layers of cloth with a leather outer-sole.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland