Costume and Textiles
Wall Hanging (Puthia) depicting the Feet of a Jain Monk
1667 (Samvat 1724)
Artist/maker unknown, India
Silk plain weave with silk, silver, and silver gilt thread embroidery in couching, chain, darning, and satin stitches
Currently not on view
1996-50-1Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 1996
LabelAcross 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.