The collection, built by Dr. Alice S. Kandell of New York, is one of the foremost and most comprehensive collections of Tibetan Buddhist art in the West. It comprises hundreds of Buddhist works of art and ritual and cultural objects predominantly from Tibet. The collection is currently installed in a shrine room in Dr. Kandellís apartment as it would have existed in a Buddhist temple or in the home of a prominent family in Tibet. The shrine has been made available for worship to lamas and Buddhist monks and many of the objects have been blessed by the Dalai Lama.
The collection represents the full spectrum of Tibetan Buddhist art and includes Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deities as well as prayer wheels, musical instruments, and lamps that burned yak butter for illumination. The art is all the more exceptional because of its quality and condition: the Buddhas have their original base, with their prayer scrolls and gems intact. Each of the tangka has its original brocade, finials and rod.