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Jainism, one of the three major religions of early India, has been continuously practised since around the middle of the first millennium BC. Jains believe in a cycle of birth and rebirth, influenced by karma and revere a group of 24 liberated souls called Jinas or Tirthankaras, who act as teachers and role models to the faithful. The V&A has one of the most important permanent collections of Jain art in the UK, including remarkable sculptures and paintings.