Victorious Ones

    September 18, 2009 - February 15, 2010

    Jainism constitutes one of India's three classical religions, the others being Buddhism and Hinduism. Though older than Buddhism by a generation, Jainism has much in common with it. Both arose and were first spread in northeastern India. Both aim to lead their followers away from the painful cycle of endless rebirths (samsara) and toward the liberation from all suffering (nirvana). Both also rejected many of the practices and ideas of early Hinduism, particularly the religion's ritual sacrifice of animals, preaching instead a doctrine of non-violence. Today the commitment to an ethic that regards all life—animal and human—as inviolate continues to be the heart of Jain practice and belief.

    The exhibition Victorious Ones: Jain Images of Perfection is centered on images of the founding figures of Jainism, the Jinas, also known as the "Conquerors" or Tirthankaras. These important religious figures, despite their having achieved liberation from the world in which we live, are believed to be accessible to humans as objects of devotion. Thus many Jains worship images of the Jinas and believe that they can be found in different sacred spaces throughout the universe. In addition to fine examples of painting and sculpture depicting the Jinas, Victorious Ones will also present these spaces that the Jinas sanctify, including painted maps of the Jain universe, depictions of famous pilgrimage sites, beautiful domestic shrines, and ritual diagrams (yantras) that were made of both durable and ephemeral materials.


    Exhibition catalog

    Read the New York Times review

    Learn more about the 24 Jinas

    Jain Music recordings and Exhibition audio tour available free on iTunes.

    Jain Programs and Events

    Family Workshops
    This fall these Saturday afternoon art-making workshops will focus on Jainism and the art and culture of India.

    Harlem in the Himalayas - Anat Fort Trio
    Pianist Anat Fort plays a set inspired by the art on view in Victorious Ones with bassist Gary Wang and drummer Roland Schneider.

    The Image of the Jina
    Curator Phyllis Granoff discusses images of the Jinas and how medieval Jain monks viewed these founding figures.

    Dr. Granoff will be participating in a symposium on Jain art this Fall at Yale University.  Please visit here for more details.

    Ahimsa: Nonviolence
    Ecologist, author, and filmmaker Michael Tobias introduces his film Ahimsa: Nonviolence and moderates a post-screening discussion.

    Karma Theory According to Jain Scriptures
    An open discussion with two nuns from the Jain Vishwa Bharati of New Jersey Center.