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102-001 Rare Tapestry Panel Representation of Buddha's Footprint

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A large representation of Buddha Shakyamuni’s Footprint on a textile tapestry panel. Burmese early 20th century.  The panel incorporates a variety of sewing techniques: embroidery, gold metallic thread, couched metallic thread and the application of small glass beads and metal sequins. Sewn over colored cloth on a cotton or linen ground. Rich but muted color scheme. As is customary with this iconography the piece is decorated with 108 auspicious symbols surrounding a mandala. Amongst the symbols represented are peacocks, elephants, horses, fish, peacocks, umbrellas, conch shells, flywisks, and water lilies. On each side of the Footprint is a Naga (serpent) as if framing or supporting it. The Nagas are richly decorated with gold thread and beads. Above the footprint is a lotus blossom while other sections of the piece are decorated with floral motifs in beautiful swirled patterns. 

A work of outstanding artistry and workmanship, this embroidered piece illustrates an element of Buddhist iconography mostly unknown outside of Southeast Asia. The embroidery technique is comparable to that used to create kalaga tapestry. Has been professionally provided with a newer cloth backing for stability and support for hanging. Excellent condition. Additional comments below.

Overall dimensions 25” 63.5cm x 34” 86.4cm.

Tapestry panel dimensions 22.5" 57.2cm x 32.75 83.2cm  

Provenance: Private Collector, St. Paul, MN USA

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Dr. T. B. Karunaratne has presented strong evidence that the 108 Auspicious Symbols represented on the Buddha's footprint arise from a lotus pond. Although the pond itself is rarely represented it's presence (as in this piece) is suggested by various secondary symbols such as lotus blossoms and Naga (water realm beings). 


Reference: Citation: Karunaratne, T. B. “The Significance of the Signs and Symbols on the Footprints of the Buddha.” Journal of the Sri Lanka Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 20, 1976, pp. 47–60. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23728450. Accessed 15 June 2021.


Reference: See also the very fine publication "The Significance of the Buddha Footprint in the Bagan Metropolis" bu Su Latt Win, Asst. Curator, Zaykabar Museum. 




This textile has been offered on The Heirloom Bazaar by an independent seller.

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