An enamelled gold Footprint of Vishnu (Vishnupada) Necklace  Nathadwara, Rajasthan, 19th Century
Lot 238
An enamelled gold Footprint of Vishnu (Vishnupada) Necklace Nathadwara, Rajasthan, 19th Century
£6,000 - 8,000
US$ 10,000 - 13,000
Auction Details
Lot Details
An enamelled gold Footprint of Vishnu (Vishnupada) Necklace
Nathadwara, Rajasthan, 19th Century
comprising eleven gold pendants, ten in the form of lobed palmettes, decorated with polychrome enamel, the fronts depicting a pair of feet bearing symbols, verso with Shri Nath ji inscribed in Devanagari script, two suspension loops above, one below; one rectangular pendant with a miniature painting of Shri Nathji in opaque watercolour and gold, verso plain gold, four suspension loops above, an emerald bead on twisted wire suspended below; the pendants on a red thread alternating with four diamond and ruby-set gold elements and eight oblong plain gold elements
21cm. long approx.; the largest pendant 3.7 cm. wide; 86 g.

Footnotes

  • A Vishnupada pendant with Shri Nath ji inscribed in Devanagari on the reverse is in the collections of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

    The use of footprints to symbolise a deity has been an ancient practice in Buddhist, Jain and Hindu art and goes as far back as the 2nd century B.C. The continuing tradition in footprint motifs related to deities also owes to the Indian religio-cultural tradition of touching the feet of a revered person as a mark of respect. Of all the footprint symbols, Hindus consider the Vishnupada to be the most sacred. Vishnupada pendants commonly found include some or all of the symbols associated with Vishnu on the sole - the sun, bow, lotus, conch, swastika, moon, banner and mace. Vishnupada amulets are often found enamelled on gold and silver. Those on gold were, and still are, made in Jaipur and Nathadwara in Rajasthan. In Nathadwara they were often purchased by pilgrims visiting the local temple of Shri Nathji as commemoratives of their pilgrimage. Devotees sometimes strung entire necklaces with these pendants, as this necklace demonstrates.
    For further discussion on sacred footprint amulets and other examples, see Oppi Untracht, Traditional Jewelry of India, London, 1997, pp. 106-7.
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  1. Matthew Thomas
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