In 1938, American tobacco heiress Doris Duke embarked on one of her periodic shopping trips to Europe and Asia. Then 25, “the richest girl in the world”—as newspapers had dubbed her when she was a child—was eagerly acquiring antiques and fragments of old buildings to outfit her lavish new home in Hawaii, which she called Shangri La. “It seems almost incredible,” wrote New York Daily News society editor Nancy Randolph, “that there can be a square inch of space left . . . for another bit of bric-a-brac, after the months and months Doris has spent scouring Europe and the Far East for furnishings and knickknacks.”
Today those “knickknacks” form the nucleus of one of the most spectacular collections of Islamic art in America. Duke, who died in 1993 at age 80, spent nearly 60 years filling her secluded Hawaiian home with more than 3,500 art objects, almost all from the Muslim world: ceramics, textiles, carved wood and stone architectural details, metalwork and paintings. The oldest pieces date from the 7th century, but the majority come from the 17th to 19th centuries.
Complete Smithsonian article and pictures at:
For more about the late Doris Duke and her Islamic Art Collection in Honolulu please visit: http://www.shangrilahawaii.org/page.asp?pageId=334
Outing and discovery:
When in Hawaii, please visit the Duke Shangrila