This pair of brass puduka sandals is modelled on those worn by deities and sadhus and other types of holy men in India. They might have been commissioned to be presented to an image of a deity as a gift. The gift of a pair of padukas to a deity would be to honour the feet of the deity implying that one is placing even the god or goddess’ feet above oneself (Aitken, 2004, p. 62).
Alternatively, the paduka sandals might have been placed on an altar and worked in their own right as Vishnupada, that is, as a representation of Vishnu’s feet and thus as Vishnu himself.
Each of the sandals has been cast as a single piece. Each is raised with platform bottoms, has crenulated sides, and a high, finial-like toe-knob.
The pair have a splendid patina and obvious age. The contours have been softened from puja-related handling. There are no losses and no repairs.
(The last image shows Vishnupada carved in stone at the Srirangam Temple, Trichinopoly, Tamil Nadu, South India. Photographed in early 2016).
Aitken, M.E., When Gold Blossoms: Indian Jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection, Asia Society & Philip Wilson Publishers, 2004.
Jain-Neubauer, J., Feet & Footwear in Indian Culture, Bata Shoe Museum/Mapin, 2000.