9 / 2005

Pakistan - Stilted wooden "Jutti" style shoe - mid 19th century

In the Hindu religion, a cow is considered a Holy animal. The cow represents divine motherhood. She is a gentle creature, does not harm anyone, feeds her children abundantly and nurtures them lovingly. Hindus therefor will not slaughter any cows, which influenced the use of leather for footwear. Moreover leather and leather products are considered impure and contaminating in India and Pakistan, because they are made of dead animals. Hindus prefer to wear non-leather footwear such as toe-knob sandals or even shoes like the one above, made of wood, ivory and metal. The one shown here is carved in the "jutti" shoe style with low stilts.

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