A large, elaborately carved Jain shrine has been restored to brilliant beauty by a conservation team at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Purchased in 1932 before the museum opened, the elaborate shrine has never been displayed until now. Using sophisticated tests, conservators discovered that the shrine dates to the 16th century and was repainted sometime after 1814. Analytical work for the shrine was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Jainism is an ancient religion from India. Jains practice non-violent behaviors to work towards individual perfection. Their ultimate goal is liberation from rebirth. Jain practice requires daily veneration of an image of the Jina, either at a community temple or at a home shrine. Domestic shrines were frequently constructed in wood and decorated with paint and relief carvings.
The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak streets in Kansas City. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday/Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For information, call 816-751-1278 or visit www.nelson-atkins.org.