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Shangri La Stories

Stories from the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Stories from the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Look up!

Carved and Painted Wood Ceiling with Stellar and Geometric Motifs,
Kingdom of Morocco, 1937, wood (cedar), polychrome pigments, gilding, bole, varnish
Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawaii (64.3)

Today, we’re taking a moment to appreciate the incredible details of the wood ceilings at Shangri La. Each has its own distinct story and intricately hand carved and painted designs.

The carved and painted ceilings in the Introductory Gallery (pictured above) and the Living Room (pictured below) were both commissioned by Doris Duke for Shangri La. These custom ceilings were created by Moroccan artisans working under the supervision of the French firm S.A.L.A.M. René Martin, based in Rabat, Morocco.

Detail of the carved and painted wooden ceiling commissioned by Doris Duke for the Living Room at Shangri La.
Ceiling of the Qajar Gallery, Ottoman, 1750-1800, with some panels added in 1953-54
Wood, pigments, gilding, metal leaf, translucent glazes
Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design, Honolulu, Hawaii (64.26)

This ceiling in the Qajar gallery is part of an interior composed of both historic and recreated elements of a traditional home in Damascus, Syria. Originally from a high-ceilinged reception hall in Damascus, it was adapted to fit the dimensions of the only guest room in Doris Duke’s main house, involving modifications like additional wood panels and altered central motifs.

Learn more about these ceilings and more artwork in our collection here.

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