11 / 1999

Indonesia * Wooden toe-knob with ivory inlay

Although today Indonesia has become mainly a Muslim society, it was influenced by the Hindu culture since the beginning of the western era. Indian sailors, traders, scholars and priests brought elements of their own culture to the archipelago. Hindus consider cows to be sacred animals as they sustain life by giving milk. Cow leather footwear was therefore traditionally not popular within the Hindu religion. Also the general belief that all life is to be protected from unnecessary harm discouraged the use of leather for footwear production. As a consequence sandals were made of wood, ivory or metal variously called: "Padukas", "Chakris", or "Kharrows". The toe-knob grip is a distinctive and centuries-old feature found all over Africa and Asia.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland