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Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai‘i. (Photo: David Franzen, 2003.)

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Media FileDoris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai‘i. (Photo: David Franzen, 2010.)Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai‘i. (Photo: David Franzen, 2010.)Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai‘i. (Photo: David Franzen, 1999.)
Ceiling, custom-made for Shangri La's living room
Date: 1937
Dimensions: Overall: 47 ft. 1 3/4 in. x 23 ft. 10 in.
Medium: Wood (cedar), pigments, gilding, varnish
Credit Line: Courtesy of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art
Description: The living room’s ceiling was custom-made for Shangri La by Moroccan artisans working under the supervision of the Rabat-based firm S.A.L.A.M. René Martin. Photographs preserved in the Shangri La Historical Archives document the fabrication of this ceiling, as well as other wood and plaster architectural elements (doors, balustrades, screens, spandrels, friezes) in Morocco. The Moroccan commissions were Doris Duke’s second major campaign as a patron of “living” artisanal craftsmanship in the Islamic world (the first being the Mughal Suite ordered in India during the 1935 honeymoon). Duke first traveled to the French protectorate of Morocco in 1937, as part of an extended tour of Europe with her then husband James Cromwell. After visiting North Africa, the Cromwells met the eponymous founder of S.A.L.A.M. René Martin in Antibes in July 1937. At that meeting, the Cromwells and Martin drafted a preliminary contract for custom-made work for Shangri La, including this ceiling and a slightly smaller example for the foyer (64.3).
Object Number: 64.49