Wall Hanging (Puthia) depicting the Feet of a Jain Monk

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Gujarat, India, Asia

1667 (Samvat 1724)

Silk plain weave with silk, silver, and silver gilt thread embroidery in couching, chain, darning, and satin stitches

13 x 15 1/8 inches (33 x 38.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Stella Kramrisch Fund, 1996

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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.

Additional information:
  • PublicationThe Fine Art of Textiles

    This iconic image, which is inscribed in Sanskrit with the name and title of the guru Vijenji, is worshiped in a similar way to an image of the footprints of the Hindu god Vishnu (Vishnupada). Dilys E. Blum, from The Fine Art of Textiles: The Collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997), p. 130.