China in Chicago

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Warning: there is a photo below that shows the x-ray of a deliberately-created physical deformity. If that is something that is not OK for you, you may not want to read today’s post.

This weekend, I visited Chicago’s beautiful Field Museum. There’s a very detailed, comprehensive exhibit about China, The Cyrus Tang Hall of China, which was fascinating. But one part really got to me.

In a packed stream of artifacts, these shoes got my attention:IMG_9020

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It’s tough to judge how tiny they are, but they look like they were made for a doll. Three inches, is what the description said.

They were shoes for bound feet. Imagine that, a full-grown woman tottering around on three-inch long, brutally misshapen feet. Hobbled, so that her feet could resemble those of a doll.

At least in shoes.

I warn you, the next photo is disturbing, at least I found it so. This is an x-ray of a woman’s bound foot:

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I cannot begin to imagine the pain of the binding process, let alone the pain of living with bound feet. Over the centuries, the cruelty and torture women endured in the pursuit of “beauty” is staggering. It makes me sad for our long-gone sisters.

Overall, though, I highly recommend the exhibit if you happen to be in or around Chicago. It really makes you consider the people who make up the history of a fascinating country.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Vikings in the Field

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IMG_9353Honestly, I think Monday cut in line this week. There’s no way it can really be Monday already. Again.

Quite the attention hog.

I had an unusually packed weekend, which included a trip to Chicago’s Field Museum. It’s a definite must if you are ever in town, it’s a gorgeous place packed with amazing things. Less amazing, however, was the Vikings special exhibit.

In the spirit of honesty, it was boring. Very, very boring. Though the text panels and display cases were sleek and gleaming, it was a dusty exhibit with all the exuberance of a book report, meticulously — but reluctantly — assembled. Many of the objects in the cases were copies, which I found disingenuous. I understand the use of copies and replicas if you are going to construct dioramas to put objects into context, to give them life, to connect to the people, but if you are going to encase something in glass, it better be worth encasing.

There was a time at the Field when the special exhibits were, indeed, special. They were immersive and enlightening, with information presented in engaging, novel ways that brought the subject to life.

The exhibit wasn’t helped by the reality that we really don’t have a lot of information on the people we call “Vikings,” or even the meaning of the word itself, so most of the explanations were couched in wishy-washy “probably,” or “might” language.

But what bothered me most about it was the utter lack of the humans behind the objects and replica objects in glass. There was no feel for the people themselves, and isn’t that the whole point of that type of exhibit?

So in all, I was somewhat disappointed. But it didn’t stop me from taking some pictures.

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IMG_9369 IMG_9376Sue, the fearsome T. Rex. Or most of her, anyway. Her real head is located above her on that balcony to the left. Due to the fossilization process, it’s too heavy to mount with the rest of her skeleton. Sue is the most complete T. Rex skeleton ever found.

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Much less fearsome dinosaur than Sue. And as far as I know, he didn’t eat a single person.

IMG_9398And so it began. There were a lot of signs with a lot of text. So much text that they suggested that if if you tend to read a lot in exhibits, you borrow a booklet so you could keep things moving in the exhibit.

IMG_9417I think this is real. Definitely real, though, is my reflection taking the picture. Hi everyone!

IMG_9555 IMG_9560And weapons, because Vikings! (And yes, that does make me sound like I learned nothing from the exhibit).

Now, in retrospect, looking at my photos, I think I may have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information, and a little claustrophobic with the crowds. Oh well, I can read my text photos without the woman in the striped shirt ahead of me always making sure she was exactly where I wanted to photograph.

I’d still say visit the Field regardless because it is fantastic. And check out the Vikings if you are so inclined, there is a lot to see.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!