The BSM’s flagship exhibition, All About Shoes: Footwear Through the Ages, is a voyage through four and a half millennia of shoes. As well as presenting an engaging overview of the history of footwear, All About Shoes also explores the wider context of our fascinating collection.
The surfaced of this rare piece of Egyptian cartonnage has been painted to draw viewer's attention to the feet and sandals of the deceased. The underside features painted sandals soles.
This pair of saffron coloured mojaris was worn by a temple dancer in Rajasthan. They feature gold zardo embroidery and the jade beads and brass bells would have created a beautiful tinkling sound when the wearer danced.
Manchu women were forbidden to have bound feet and instead wore high platform shoes that stilted their gait and allowed them to emulate the desirable shuffling ‘lotus walk’ of women with bound feet. Although the Manchu and the Han were distinct ethnic groups within China, they shared a similar artistic vocabulary, a fact attested to by the use of similar motifs such as the butterflies that decorate the uppers of these shoes.
Platform footwear called chopines were a staple of upper-class women's fashion in Italy and Spain in the 16th century. In Italy chopines were made of wood and worn hidden under long dresses, while in Spain they were made of cork, highly decorated and worn visible. These chopines share similarities with both Italian and Spanish styles and comes from a part of Italy ruled by the Spanish.soles.
This menacing looking clog was worn in the Haute Ardèches region of Auvergne, France in the 19th century for the innocent task of crushing chestnuts. The chestnut was an important source of source of food for both people and animals. These peasant work clogs were tools essential to food production in the 19th century but today are fodder for the imagination
Spanish designer Manolo Blahnik (1942 - ) has been dedicated to the art of shoemaking since the 1970s. His work is often inspired by the elegance of the past which he translates into objects of desire for the present. This pair of Locka’s was gifted to the museum by Mr. Blahnik in 2014. It remains one of his favourite shoes of that season.
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