Hidden Temple Goes on Display at the Nelson
The Nelson-Atkins Museum is showcasing a never-before-seen carved Jain shrine.
Reincarnation and nonviolence are among the core principles of Jainism, one of the world’s oldest religions. Most followers live in India and are estimated to number at least 4 million.
A temple for private daily offerings is common in the homes of wealthy Jains. The structures are typically wood with painted relief carvings.
This shrine dates back to the 16th century and was repainted around 1824. The temple was purchased by the museum in 1932 but languished in storage for decades, shrouded by centuries of grime. The museum’s conservation team cleaned and reassembled the shrine’s columns, doors, beams and entryway.
This is the first time the shrine has been on display. It is one of only seven known Jain temples in the United States.
The exhibit, titled "Revealing a Hidden Treasure: A Jain Shrine from India," is in Gallery 203 and will be shown through May 31. Admission is free.