This book was published in conjunction with the exhibition The Peaceful Liberators: Jain Art from India, which was organised by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It is the most comprehensive presentation to date of the art-work emerging from the Jain religion. The Jains, despite their rigorous ideal of non-attachment to the physical world, have produced a cultural heritage paradoxically regal in its imaginative splendor and its physical realization.
The approximately 120 works in this volume, spanning nearly two millennia and displaying an astonishing variety of modes and styles reveal the presence of a major artistic tradition. Jain manuscript illuminations have heretofore received the most attention in art historical books. Created between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries, they fill a large gap in the history of Indian painting. The other form of Jain cultural expression that has been generally noted is the group of extraordinary marble temples created between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries at Mount Abu, in Rajasthan. Otherwise, except for a few individual objects, such as first-and second-century votice tablets known as ayagapata, or the colossal statue of Bahubali in Sravana Belgola, few Jain objects are discussed in art books.
This volume provides for the first time a wide-ranging survey of Jain art, showing its enormous variety in all artistic media and forms.