Tamil Penance Shoes

These shoes were designed to be worn by  women, who would endure the pain from the upturned nails as they paraded behind a priest in the Tamil Nadu region of Southern India during a festival to their God Shiva, who's likeness was carried at the front of the procession.  The women would then lie face down to let a priest walk over them; this ritual act or penance was supposed to rid the women of both physical and mental illness.  Although these shoes date back to the beginning of the twentieth century (or earlier), this practice was witnessed as recently as 2003.
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Southern India
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iron & wood
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East Ayrshire Council
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