Last Chance for Islamic Art in Newport

Check out the exotic exhibition at Rough Point before it's shipped back to Hawaii.

Doris Duke, the late Newport heiress known for her eccentricity and philanthropy, was fascinated by Islamic art. And of course she was; just take a look at this ridiculously awesome bath clog from her collection:



It's fit for an heiress, we think. Made in Syria, circa 1900, the clog is constructed of wood, mother-of-pearl, copper alloy, leather and velvet. In addition to being beautiful, the clog was also functional. It  along with its long-lost twin kept its wearer's feet clean during the commute to and from public bathhouses.

Since the spring, Rough Point  the waterfront mansion owned by Doris Duke and donated, upon her death in 1993, to the Newport Restoration Foundation  has hosted an exhibition of Islamic art on loan from Duke's Hawaiian estate, Shangri La. In addition to objects like the clog and the stunning rosewater sprinkler, below, the exhibition includes photographs of architectural features of Shangri La that were influenced by Duke's trips to the Middle East. The exhibit closes on November 6.



Tomorrow, from 12:30 to 5 p.m., the mansion hosts a symposium that offers insight on Duke's fascination with Islamic art and architecture. Guest lecturers include Sheila Blair, professor of Islamic and Asian art from Boston University; Konrad Ng, executive director of the Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures; Deborah Pope; founding executive director of the Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures; Mariah Proctor-Tiffany, an associate professor from California State University who will talk about the process of building an Islamic art collection; and Kent Severson, conservator for collections at the Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures, who will discuss how the museum is preserving Duke's collection in windswept Hawaii.

Register here.