tion. Neither do women let fall off their leaves in autumn or - if you so like - their hair nor do they only have children in spring right now.
But back to the sacrifices. So young women are meant to sacrify to the soil. To ask for deadly sacrifices would be fatal from a political population motive. Society would be silly to slaughter its most crusty subjects. Besides the population growth could not have developed like it has otherwise. With a growth of about 78 million people per year the world population will be around 6.6 billion by May 2007. Right now about 6% of all ever born humans are alive (Wikipedia).
Hence something metaphorical was to be used. Dances, dancing women for example, look good. Dancing on stubble fields though is a complicated matter. From my own experience I can report that one can cross a stubblefield barfoot only by shuffling, hence in such a manner that when pushing the foot forward one bends the stalks onto which the foot is set down. This cannot be called dancing neither does it appear like sacrificing when shuffling one precisly tries to avoid hurting.
At the small bronce figur which Elke Suhr lets appear in her exhibition one can only see the pointed little foot of a true hence sacrificing stubble dancer, 2500 years old, jumping, tensed with great accuracy. If the artist worked realistically with this small bronce figure then we have to assume that the Fraeuleins truly danced and then their feet must have suffered very much even if the whole population at that time probably consisted of experienced hardened barfoot runners. They danced on the fields untill the feet were bloody - very heroically, the fertilizing effect can be disregarded here, so no direct effect for the ground but an indirect one. That is contemptness for everyone to have sacrifized to the gods and hence carry on as usual. Should these sacrifces not been able to be carried out because of lack of women well then there is a problem. The proud farmers are nothing without the part-taking feet of their women.
The issue about the bloody feet has arrived in the 21st century without harm.
At the time of the romanticism in fairy tales from Cinderella to the story of the little mermaid one rose to true hysteria of female footness always in relation to the power that men wish to establish over women.
With Cinderella the prince, or rather the doves who tell him, discovers that there is blood in the shoe hence she is not 'the true one' who presented herself to him in the glass slippers.. With the mermaid the sea female sacrifices her well-being for a pair of legs with delicate feet attached that hurt with every step like a thousand knife-cuts just because she has fallen in love with a two-legged person.
All this does not really end well: the evil stepmother regularly has to dance in glowing slippers on the happy wedding until she is dead. In romanticism the uncanny metamorpheses of the ladies, fairies, mermaids, witches, snow princesses - unpredictable and full of magic - accumulate. Most of the time they change back in time to a cute housewife, but watch it - the whole is expression of the increasing uncertainty of men in their approach with emancipating women who can behave curiously flexible in contrary to men because with them it always only is the knight plodding through the woods and deals with some tasks recently irritated by conjuring tricks by women. By the way tasks are not sacrifices but very important businesslike issues for self-- empowering, hence the forming of heroes (comparable with modern sports or competitions at which the spectators can bid on the winner).
The knights were James Bond already back then - have always been truly and want to be ongoing. Last foothold in this development of foot is Freud with his strange fetichism for shoes as substitute for penis for the mother - I have never understood this.
pictures of the installation