Just in from The New York Times - a review of two U.S. exhibits centering upon the history of art in the Jain religion (a close relative - especially visually - to Buddhism).
The Jains house a tradition of exquisite sculpture and narrative painting, as one soon discovers in this article and accompanying slideshow...
Mohandas Gandhi, who used nonviolence as a political tool, learned a lot from the Jains. But in the West we still know little about them and even less about their art — brilliant little narrative paintings, sculptures of sleek nude saviors — which we tend to misidentify as Buddhist. Not that there’s much around to see. The last major American survey was at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1994, and it never came to the East Coast. Scant Jain material is on regular view in New York museums.
This fall, however, brings two Jain shows to New York: “Victorious Ones: Jain Images of Perfection” at the Rubin Museum of Art and “Peaceful Conquerors: Jain Manuscript Painting” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Neither show is as spectacular as the Los Angeles exhibition, although the Rubin Museum one approaches it. Together they provide an in-depth survey of a great art tradition and a complex faith that has nearly five million followers in India.