Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Footprints & Handprints Religious Context

Footprints & Handprints Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Religious Context
- Footprints & Handprints Outline Page
- Buddha or Manjushri Footprints from Wutaishan, China
- Chakrasamvara & Footprints
- Gelug Painting Set
- Gelug Teacher Footprints (Miscellaneous)
- Kagyu Teacher Footprints
- Magic & Ritual Practices: Sample 1, Sample 2
- Manjushri: Three Embodiments (with Hand and Footprints)
- Nyingma Teacher Footprints (Terdag Lingpa, etc.)
- Shakyamuni Buddha Footprints (& Hands)
- Confusions
- Others...

Note that with some Karmapa Guruyoga paintings the lineage Karmapas are depicted with the palms of the hands and soles of the feet directed towards the viewer.

The Nyingma Tradition appears to have adopted the practice very late, possibly following the example set by the 5th Dalai Lama and Desi Sanggye Gyatso in the 17th century. So far there are no examples on the Himalayan Art Resources website of Sakya footprint compositions, or any affiliated schools. Historically it is a Kagyu tradition supported by early Kagyu writings later taken up by the Gelug hierarchs and painters.

Jeff Watt 11-2010 [updated 5-2017, 1-2020]

(See the publication Eternal Presence. Handprints and Footprints in Buddhist Art. Kathryn Selig Brown. Katonah Museum of Art, 2004).