Synopses & Reviews
"There is a real danger of the disappearance of the unique Tibetan culture. So at such a time, this kind of work is very, very useful, very helpful....I feel that I see part of a Tibetan antique collection, ancient Tibetan things."
So commented the fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, upon visiting the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art. Founded in 1945 by Jacques Marchais (the professional named adopted by the private collector Jacqueline Klauber), this well-known, yet infrequently visited museum designed in the fashion of a small mountain temple in the Himalayas, is nestled on a serene hillside on Staten Island, New York. Never able to visit Tibet herself, Jacques Marchais developed a fascination for the culture and art of Tibet in the 1930s and spent the rest of her life collecting objects of Tibetan origin. Today, in its fiftieth year, the museum holds over 1,200 pieces and is particularly strong in Tibetan Buddhist art from Tibet, Mongolia, and northern China dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.
Treasures of Tibetan Art: The Collections of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, is a unique catalog of the most important works from this renowned collection. Beautifully illustrated, with 190 photographs (including eighty-one full-color plates) this extraordinary volume makes much of the splendor of the museum's holdings available for the first time. The objects--selected for their aesthetic or technical quality, religious or historic significance, rarity, or representation of similar works in the museum's collection--are primarily examples of religious art from Tibet, China, Mongolia, and Nepal. They include decorative temple and secular pieces, as well as several contemporary works, and works from as early as the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The book represents a collaboration between Western and Tibetan scholars. Compiled by the museum's director and curator, Barbara Lipton, and Tibetan consultant Nima Dorjee Ragnubs, the pieces are arranged roughly according to traditional Tibetan sequence, beginning with the Shakyamuni Buddha, arhats, and other lamas; meditational deities or yidam; and buddhas and bodhisattvas. Later entries cover protector deities and guardian deities; ritual objects and musical instruments; and jewelry and decorative objects. Each entry gives the name of the deity in English or Sanskrit, and in Tibetan transliteration where appropriate; the medium in which the object was created; the dimensions; and the provenance, date, and approximate place of origin, if known. In a number of entries, associated legends and folk tales have been recounted, and religious, ethnographical, art-historical, and historical information is provided where relevant. In addition, interesting essays by Lipton and noted Tibetan scholar Donald Lopez, provide valuable information on the institution's history and the nature of Tibetan Buddhism. Together, these fascinating catalog entries and illuminating essays contribute much new information on Tibetan culture, iconography, history, and folklore, while the objects alone form a body of work that illustrates the diffusion of Tibetan art, culture, and religion into China and Mongolia.
Lavishly illustrated, Treasures of Tibetan Art highlights a remarkable collection of unique works of art, offering a fascinating glimpse into the richness of Tibetan culture.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 277-284) and index.
About the Author
, an art historian, is director and curator of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art and author of a number of books, including Survival: Life and Art of the Alaskan Eskimo
and John Cotton Dana and the Newark Museum
. Nima Dorjee Ragnubs
is a Tibetan scholar and native of Tibet.