New York Magazine

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Home > Arts & Events > Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

338 Lighthouse Ave., Staten Island, NY 10306 40.576298 -74.138517
nr. Richmond Rd.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
718-987-3500 Send to Phone

Share this listing

Official Website

tibetanmuseum.org

Hours

Wed-Sun, 1pm-5pm; Mon-Tue, by appointment only

Directions

Staten Island Ferry to St. George Terminal, then S74 bus to Lighthouse Ave.

Parking

  • Street Parking

Prices

$5, $3 students and seniors, children under 6 free

Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Profile

The art collection of Jacques Marchais—who was neither male nor of French descent (but more on that later)—is housed in a striking replica of a Tibetan mountain temple, built by Italian stonemasons on a hill above Staten Island's Green Belt. The single room space contains an altar-like area surrounded by display cases filled with statues, cloisonné incense burners, and other ceremonial objects. Mostly bronzes, the 100 or so statues depict lamas and protective deities as well as the historical Buddha while some especially intricate miniatures portray the many-armed Yamataka, a wrathful manifestation of a Bodhisattva. Outside, the beautiful contemplation garden is graced by several large representations of the Buddha, a koi pond overflowing with lotus blossoms in summer, and a distant view of the harbor. As for Marchais, she was born Edna Coblenz in Ohio in 1887. No one knows exactly why she adopted a masculine first name or a French surname, but her assumed identity was likely an asset for a dealer in the early 20th century art world. Her passion for Tibetan art and culture is also a mystery since she never traveled further than Cuba. Nonetheless, from the 1930s onwards, she amassed around 1200 pieces of primarily Tibetan statuary dating from the 15th to 20th centuries but also representing India, North China, Mongolia, Japan and Thailand.

Spiritual Practice

The museum offers weekly classes in meditation and tai-chi, and occasionally hosts monks from the Staten Island Buddhist Vihara.

Souvenirs
The gift shop stocks prayer flags, Ting Sha (cymbals for meditation), and many books on Tibetan art and culture.

Garden Sights
Plant lovers should be sure to examine the rare tri-foliate orange trees in the garden. These spiny, succulent-like trees from Asia were planted by Marchais herself when the museum opened.

Tours
Docent-led tours are available.

Advertisement

Today's Agenda

Beyond Classical & Dance: See the Next 7 Days

Vulture + Agenda

Stay up to speed on breaking news and the latest from the world of arts and entertainment.

Advertising