Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Deities Wearing Boots & Shoes

Iconography Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Vairochana Buddha
- Sthavira/Arhat Main Page
- Tibetan Kings
- Padmasambhava
- Worldly Protector Deities (male)
--- Begtse Chen
--- Deities in Warrior Appearance (Drala)
- Boot/Foot Outlines on Paintings
- Single Boot Highlighted
- Boot Hats
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Video: Deities Wearing Boots

In a single sculptural example Vairochana Buddha is depicted wearing boots in a similar manner to early Tibetan kings. Buddhas wearing shoes or boots is very unusual. Figures that commonly wear boots are the the Buddhist Elders (sthavira/arhats) depicted in a Chinese style. They can worn on the feet or removed and placed neatly in front of the seat or throne. The Four Guardian Kings, Tibetan kings, and the famous teacher Padmasambhava are all commonly attired in heavy layered robes and felt-like boots.

It is commonly believed, and stated as such, that Tibetan Buddhist deities - Worldly Protectors - that wear boots are of Tibetan origin and not originating in India. In general this appears to be true. The main figures that wear boots are the collection of Tibetan worldly protectors - specifically the male deities and the class of Tibetan Warrior (drala) deities.

Jeff Watt 2-2006 [updated 3-2019, 4-2022]

(The images below are only a selection of examples chosen from the links above).