Wood with relief, glass inlay and traces of pigments
62 x 55 x 32 inches
Museum purchase with funds provided by the Carnell Bequest for Fine Arts Objects
This elaborately carved Jain shrine is typical of Indian art in its rich, textural surface. A wealthy individual from northwest India probably commissioned this small shrine for private, devotional practice. The details of the shrine are reminiscent of the architecture of the larger Jain temples from this region and here have been translated into miniature.
Four posts stand atop a plinth, or base and support a roof, establishing a sort of portico or entrance to the shrine separating the sacred space from the mundane.
The richly decorated surface of the shrine is covered with architectural motifs stacked one atop another. Niches contain faces of deities that peer out at the viewer, while other deities seem to celebrate ritual practice with music and dance—all of which frame double doors covered in a carved floral pattern.
Behind the doors originally resided a figure of a savior called a tirthankara, one of twenty-four Jain deities. Perhaps it could even have housed a figure of Mahavira, the 6th century founder of Jainism