Footbinding was practiced in China beginning in the Song dynasty (960-1269) and continued into the 20th century. It involved the physical, and sometimes surgical, compression of a female's feet to suit a particular vision of female beauty. The process of binding started when a girl was very young and continued until the ideal "Lotus Foot" was fully formed (around 3 inches long.) This process resulted (not surprisingly) in females being effectively crippled and disfigured for the remainder of their lives. This process was made illegal in the 20th century.