Early to Mid 20th Century Chinese Export Porcelain Rose Medallion Foot Bath with Under plate / tray. Tray 15"x11"x2 1/2". Foot Bath 17"x12"x10". Mark for Qianlong Nian Zhi. Weight 16 pds. PROVENANCE A Private Charleston SC Estate. Chinese footbaths originated in China in the Ming Dynasty. Originally, the footbaths were Blanc de Chine, a type of white porcelain made in the Fujian province. The area along the Fujian coast was traditionally one of the main ceramic exporting centers extending in historical range from the Song Dynasty to present. Blanc de chine, along with hand painted porcelains in Blue and White, Rose Medallion, Famille Rose, Chinese Imari and Canton patterns, and other porcelain was made and decorated exclusively for Chinese footbaths for export to Europe and later to North America. Large quantities of this Chinese Export Porcelain were exported beginning as early as the 16th century and continued well into the 20th century. The size, around 16” long, and shape of the footbath are also traditional. This size may seem small for use in bathing ones feet, but foot baths were traditionally used only by the women of the wealthiest families. These families practiced the custom of “foot binding”. Originated among upper-class court dancers during the 10th or 11th century in Imperial China, but spread during the Song Dynasty and eventually became common among all but the lowest of classes. Foot binding became popular as a means of displaying status and was correspondingly adopted as a symbol of beauty in Chinese culture.