louh fuh yahn haaih (Cantonese Opera Shoes)

About this object

History of use

Flat-soled shoes of this configuration and with this kind of decoration were worn by female actors playing older woman roles. The extent of decoration indicates the status of the character. During the years 1900-1930, Cantonese opera costumes were decorated with silver-plated brass discs and then with round mirrors, together with gold and silver thread. Sequins made of gelatin were first used on Cantonese opera costumes in the 1930s. Heavily-sequined costumes were popular in the 1950s-60s, with the sequins then being made of plastic. Sequins have continued to come and go in popularity since that time.

Cultural context

Cantonese Opera Performance

Iconographic meaning

The length of the tassels indicates that the character is an older woman.

Physical description

A pair of flat-soled shoes made of dark blue-green fabric decorated with white sequins in a geometric Greek key design. Over the toes are long tassels of shiny white thread, one of which is bound with red thread.