The majority of the DDFIA’s collection of about 2,500 objects is housed at Shangri La, many of which are embedded into the structure of the buildings. Additional examples of Islamic art from the collection are on view in the following exhibitions and permanent installations, both in Honolulu and across the continental United States.


Permanent Exhibitions

Arts of the Islamic World Gallery 

The Arts of the Islamic World Gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art provides a brief overview of art from the Islamic world and an introduction to works visitors will encounter during a tour of Shangri La. DDFIA collection pieces on view in the gallery include Ilkhanid star tiles and Qajar paintings from Iran; wood, mother-of-pearl and metal doors from nineteenth-century Northern India; and Iznik ceramics from Turkey.

> See Objects on Loan 

Current Exhibitions

Symmetry and Islamic Art 

January 11 - March 16, 2016

On view in the lobby of the Hawai‘i State Library, this offsite exhibition explores symmetry as it relates to works of art in the DDFIA collection.


Piece by contemporary artist Afruz Amighi. Heart Axe, 2011. Woven polyethylene and plexiglass, 96 x 68 in. (Photo: Afruz Amighi.)

Past Exhibitions

Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art


Organized on the centenary of Doris Duke’s (1912–93) birth by guest curators Donald Albrecht, curator of design for the Museum of the City of New York and Thomas Mellins, architectural historian, Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art explores the synthesis of 1930s modernist architecture, tropical landscape and Islamic art that Duke achieved at Shangri La. This is the first major exhibition about Shangri La to be shown outside Hawai‘i, taking the story of Duke’s transformative engagement with the Islamic world and her work at Shangri La to national audiences.

The exhibit features photographs by Tim Street-Porter, archival materials and a selection of more than 60 objects of Islamic art from the collection. The exhibition also includes new art work by seven past artists-in-residence, including Zakariya Amataya, Afruz Amighi, Shezad Dawood, Emre Hüner,Walid Raad, Shahzia Sikander and Mohamed Zakariya.

Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art is on view through 2015 at the following locations:

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Doris Duke’s Shangri La: A House in Paradise, edited by exhibition curators Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins and published by Skira/Rizzoli.

> Press Release

> See Objects on Loan

> The New York Times Review


Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture


Shangri La was one of 50 international institutions lending collections to Beauty and Belief, a large exhibition that opened at the Brigham Young University (BYU) Museum of Art in Provo, Utah, on February 24, 2012. Curated by Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, originally from Tunisia, Beauty and Belief sought to provide “a view from within Islamic culture” to bridge differences and inspire insight through beauty. Thirteen of the 250 objects in the exhibition were from the DDFIA collection; they date from the early tenth through nineteenth centuries and include ceramics, glass, doors, hanging lamps, textiles and a page from a very early North African Qu’ran.

Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture was on view through 2013 at the following locations:

  • BYU Museum of Art, February 24, 2012–September 29, 2012
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art, November 2, 2012–January 13, 2013


'Doris Duke: The Southeast Asian Art Collection' by Dr. Nancy Tingley.

Emerald Cities: Doris Duke’s Southeast Asian Collection, 2009–2010

On view at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum from October 23, 2009–January 10, 2010, this was the first major exhibition in the West to explore the rich but little known arts of Siam and Burma from the nineteenth century. Many of the 140 artworks—including gilded ritual vessels, mother-of-pearl inlaid furniture, paintings, manuscripts, textiles, and ceramics were acquired by the museum from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and were on display for the first time.

Doris Duke: The Southeast Asian Art Collection, a book by Dr. Nancy Tingley documents the history and significance of the collection. The book can be downloaded free.


Fields of Flowers: Woven Carpets and Mughal Treasures, 2008 

On view at the East-West Center Gallery, East-West Center, in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, from September 24–December 12, 2008, this exhibition focused on mid-seventeenth-century Mughal Indian floral motifs as found in a rare pair of large, unusually shaped Mughal carpets.

Other works of art inspired by Mughal floral patterns, including brassware, paintings, stonework, woodwork and textiles, were featured in the exhibition. Photographs and video demonstrated the objects’ social and historical context. The exhibition was co-sponsored by the East-West Center.


On view at the East-West Center Gallery: Pair of seventeenth-century shaped Mughal carpets.

Enduring Threads: Central Asian Embroidered Textiles, 2005–2006 

On view at the East-West Center Gallery, East-West Center, in Honolulu, Hawai‘i from November 7, 2005–January 19, 2006, this exhibition presented a selection of suzanis from the DDFIA collection. Suzanis are part of a textile tradition that showcases bold and colorful embroidery. Historically made by women for daughters’ dowries, suzanis decorate homes as wall hangings, bedding and curtains, among other decor.

Photographs of Uzbekistan were exhibited with the suzanis to provide an overview of the culture and society in which these textiles were produced. The exhibition was presented in partnership with the East-West Center Arts Program.


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