Wall Hanging (Puthia) depicting the Feet of a Jain Monk
Ceremonial Hanging (Gurupada)
Artist/maker unknown, India
Across the top of this embroidery, the name and title of the guru Vijenji are inscribed in Sanskrit. The presence of the holy teacher is indicated symbolically by his footprints, rather than his bodily form. In Indian culture, body parts have different values; the head is most revered, and the feet the least; thus, the worship of someone's feet is an expression of true reverence. Subtly embroidered in the right foot in a contrasting satin stitch is a svastika, an ancient Indian symbol of well-being. To either side of the footprints, small worshipers in colorful robes hold fly whisks to honor the guru.