Unusual, Fine Brass Foot Scrubber (Vajri)
Maharashtra or Karnataka, India
This foot scrubber (vajri) comes from southern India and dates to the 19th century. Typically such scrubbers were used by women when bathing to scrub the feet, something made necessary as most users did not wear shoes.
This example is of cast brass and comprises a pedestal with a cage, and a rough, scored base, that is surmounted by a whimsical and finely cast rabbit that is both decorative and also functions as a handle.
Small pebbles or rocks usually are contained within the bases of most such scrubbers. Bathing often occurred in a public space, perhaps a stream or river. When the scrubber was being used, the small pebbles jingled, perhaps to warn off others in the vicinity that women were bathing nearby. The quality of this example is underscored by the fact that the base contains not irregular pebbles but uniform spheres of lead shot.
Overall, this is an unusually fine
One vajri is illustrated in Sharma R.C. et al, Alamkara: 5000 Years of Indian Art, National Heritage Board (Singapore)/Mapin, 1994.
Inventory no.: 535
for a collection of 16 Vajris.