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Clogs of Wenchang, Hainan

In Wenchang County, Hainan Province locates in the southern China, home of many overseas Chinese. Clogs are prevalent there.
However, the clogs are in the danger of being gradually eliminated, to be replaced by cloth shoes, leather shoes or plastic shoes, yet many people wearing clogs, whether in countryside or town can still be seen.

Clog is a general term for shoes of wooden treads. Recorded by the legend handed down from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC), Jie Zitui, an aristocrat of the Jin Kingdom, once exiled together with the King in Jin Kindom, Jin Wengong, to another kingdom. After going back, Jie Zitui secluded in Mianshang Mountain (now southeast of Gongxiu County, Shangxi Province), and declined repeated invitations from Jin Wengong. Later, the armyman burned the mountain where he lived, obeying the order by the king, who thought that in this way, Jie Zitui would be forced out. However, after the fire, Jie Zitui was found dying holding a tree. Jin Wengong lamented Jie Zitui so much that he used wood of this tree to make Clogs, and whenever he put them on, he would think of Jie Zitui.

There are several kinds of Wenchang Clogs: Kuchang Clogs, Kulian (chinaberry) Clogs, Jiangfu Clogs, etc. Especially, the Clogs made of chinaberry and painted with beautiful pictures is too comfortable to wear, as chinaberry is both light and durable.

Wenchang Clogs has enjoyed a centuries-old history. At first, its shape was very similar to a tiny wooden stool and the upper part was added onto it. Since only a small area of Wenchang Clogs contacts the ground, they are suitable for walking on muddy road or in rainy days, and meanwhile, not easy to slip down. However, later on, clogs were carved out of a whole piece of wood, which bear more advantages.

With Sino-foreign cultural exchanges, clogs now has already spreaded to Korea , Japan and Southeast Asia, and even today it is still popular there.