The Jain religion, which arose more than 2,700 years ago in northern India, acknowledges twenty-four enlightened beings known as Jinas. In western India, Jain temples that honored Jinas were often fashioned from luminous white marble, which evokes the purity of the soul.
The temples also were adorned with auspicious images of beautiful women carved as ceiling brackets, like this celestial drummer. Upon entering a shrine, devotees who look upward see a joyous assembly of dancers and musicians. Tapping her heels, inclining her head, and twisting her elongated body, the drummer exhibits both dynamic movement and serene self-absorption.