Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Priceless Collection of Islamic Art in Hawaii

fromIslamiCity Bulletin

A Priceless Collection of Islamic Art in Hawaii   
What kind of home would you build if you were one of the wealthiest people in the country and money was no object? And you loved Islamic art? And you had fallen in love with the Hawaiian Islands? And it was the late 1930s and you were in your mid-20s?

For Doris Duke, an American heiress whose vast wealth at the time included a Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City, an estate in Newport, Rhode Island, and a 2,700 acre farm in New Jersey, the answer was Shangri La. Built between 1937 and 1938, the 14,000 square foot main house, a "playhouse" modeled on a Persian palace, and a pool and cascading water feature blend into nearly five acres of oceanfront land in the shadow of Honolulu's Diamond Head. In those pre-war years, when much of Hawaii lived in either modest bungalows or even more modest plantation homes, the $1.4 million spent to build Shangri La was almost inconceivable. In today's dollars, factoring in inflation over the last 71 years, Duke paid an estimated $20,500,000 to build Shangri La. And that doesn't include the cost of furnishing her Hawaiian estate, or the many artifacts and treasures she acquired for the home until her death in 1993, or the numerous renovations and changes that Duke ordered over the years.
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