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Stone footprints of the Buddha

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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stone footprints of the Buddha
[仏足石] (Jpn bussoku-seki )

Imprints of the soles of the Buddha's feet carved in stone. The Buddha's footprints in stone symbolized the Buddha himself, and worship of such stone footprints was popular in India, China, and Japan. For centuries after Shakyamuni Buddha's death, there was no attempt to create an image of the Buddha, for it was thought improper to graphically depict the Buddha himself. Shakyamuni Buddha was instead depicted in carvings symbolically as a wheel, an empty throne, a bodhi tree, an umbrella, or a pair of footprints. The Buddha was represented only in this manner until the first century, when Gandhara carvings began to depict him in human form. This was followed by the sculpting of statues of the Buddha. Nevertheless, stone footprints, an early traditional symbol of the Buddha, remained popular and were transmitted along with the teachings from one country to the next.

Source

www.sgilibrary.org