CONTENTS:- Preface; Introduction; Part 1: The Foot in Indian Culture; Part 2: Ancient Footwear and Types of Shoes Traditional Hide, Leather, and Leather Workers in India; Part 3: Traditional Indian Footwear in the Modern Period; References; Map; Glossary; Photo Credits; Index.
Innumerable references to the foot and to foot worship in Indian culture convey the impression that the foot is considered one, if not the most, important part of the human body. The foot is usually the part of the body that is venerated: the feet of elders are worshipped by the younger generation; the feet of religious teachers and holy men by their followers; the feet of idols by their devotees; the feet of those from whom wrongdoers seek forgiveness. There is also the romantic sentiment inherent in a beloved's foot. It was in this context that the Indian miniature painting, drama and poetry referred to men treasuring the touch of the foot of their beloved. Until half a century ago, India was described as a 'barefoot country', as the ascetic Hindu, Buddhist and Jain sects were not generally permitted the worldly luxury of footwear.
There are outstanding examples of aristocratic, embroidered slippers. Typical toe-knob sandals made of wood, ivory, brass and silver worn by mendicants and holy men are outstanding examples of craftsmanship of the period. Shoes worn by common people in villages of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and north-eastern regions of upper Himalayas and made with felt, jute, wool, leather and embellished with great sense of aesthetics and design give a glimpse of the traditions maintained in contemporary India.