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Shangri La: Doris Duke's
Collections of Islamic Art in Honolulu
Carol Bier, Research Associate, Textile Museum

Thursday, January 14, 2010
Social Hour begins 6:30 PM. Program starts at 7:30PM

In conjunction with the Armenian Rug Society

Rugs and Carpets, Inc. (Formerly Simonian Carpets) 939 Amphlett Blvd., San Mateo. 650-343-8585

Doris Duke’s collections of Islamic art at her home in Honolulu were virtually unknown prior to her death in 1993. She began acquiring individual items, including several suzanis, during her honeymoon in 1935, which makes her collection of suzanis today one of the oldest in North America. This illustrated lecture will summarize results of the Shangri La Suzani Research Project within the larger context of Doris Duke’s collections of Islamic art at Shangri La.

Carol Bier is Research Associate, The Textile Museum, Washington, DC, where she served as Curator for Eastern Hemisphere Collections from 1984 until 2001. She now lives in the SF Bay Area and pursues her scholarship on textiles and carpets within the broader contexts of Islamic arts and culture with a focus on the study of patterns as intersections of art and mathematics. She has published widely, lectured throughout North America and abroad, and has taught courses on Islamic art for many years. In 2005 she directed the Shangri La Suzani Research Project in Honolulu.

Proposed ACOR 2011

The Board of ACOR has proposed that the next American Conference on Oriental Carpets be held in the Bay Area. The dates would correspond to the dates of the Caskey-Lees Tribal Arts Show in early February. ACOR is proposing to use the Herbst Pavilion for conference meetings, hands on sessions and exhibits.

There may also be a limited Dealers Row inside the Herbst Pavilion accessible to the Conference participants. The Board of ACOR believes that a successful and high quality conference requires that the Bay Area rug community organize at least one and preferably two exhibits inside the Pavilion. In accordance with previous ACORs, the Board would like to see an exhibition of high quality carpet and textile pieces from Bay Area collectors, from 50-75 pieces depending on their size. The space allocated to this exhibit would be approximately 3000 square feet and would require a build-out of walls lights, etc. Bay Area rug collectors, local dealers and SFBARS would have to come up with the additional cost of about $13,000 in order to pay for the costs of construction and fitting out, plus some amount for the rental space. Accordingly, SFBARS is asking its membership for immediate and urgent response to the proposal by the ACOR Board.

ACOR will need to empower a steering committee of committed members willing to take on the work of organizing the conference in conjunction with the ACOR Board. In addition, this steering committee will need to recruit and identify members who are interested in working on the various activities of the conference and most importantly to take responsibility for organizing the exhibit, including soliciting pieces, vetting and choosing them and hanging and taking them down before and after the conference.

ACOR President Tom Hubbard has asked that all those interested in planning and implementing the next ACOR contact him directly ASAP (or at the latest by the end of January) in order that this event can move forward. If an insufficient level of interest is expressed by the Bay Area Rug Community then most likely the 2011 ACOR will be canceled or postponed.

IMPORTANT: ALL MEMBERS PLEASE CONTACT Tom Hubbard at email between now and the end of January to let him know of your interest and to volunteer to make ACOR 2011 happen.

Upcoming Events

February 12

February 13

Mid March

April 22

Dennis Marquand will talk and do a show and tell on Uzbek and Kyrgyz weavings at Krimsa Gallery on Union Street in San Francisco.
(Note change of date from previous Newsletter.)

The deYoung Museum will be holding two important events in conjunction with the Tribal Arts Show. The first, sponsored by the Textile Arts Council, is a talk by Alberto Levi at 10 AM in the Koret Auditorium entitled "Primitivism and Abstraction in Persian Tribal Flatweaves.” For details see the TAC web site

Later that evening (details to follow) the Museum and SFBARS will present the annual Caroline McCoy-Jones Memorial Lecture. Professor Walter Denny will be talking about Turkmen carpets and Islamic art. For details see the deYoung web site. Invitations will be sent to all SFBARS, TAC and Museum members. For information, contact Jill D'Alessandro at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, email

Annual Dinner and Auction, details to follow. Please note: We will be looking for donations of small but nice items, not your bottom of the bin or cast offs (value less than $100) to offer in the silent auction.

Save the date. Jeff Spur from Harvard and the New England Rug Society.

New Board Member We are pleased to welcome Ben Banayan to the Board of SFBARS. Ben is an active member of the Bay Area Rug Community and is known to many of you through his web site Rug Rabbit. He is interested in joining with all interested in working to expand our membership, reach out to new members and plan a wider scope of events for the carpet and textile collecting and connoisseur community.
Gallery Exhibit Thomas Cole will be mounting an exhibition of Baluch weavings from Persia and Afghanistan from January 2 - February 20 in his new gallery space in Marin County. The weavings will range from main carpets to small animal trappings, as well as some flat weaves from SE Persia and Baluchistan. The gallery is open by appointment (415 4991652), located just a mile west of Hwy 101off Lucas Valley Rd. in northern Marin County. There will be an opening reception with refreshments (date TBA). Antique Tribal Rugs & Textile Art,
Silk Road Exhibit The American Museum of Natural History in New York is presenting “Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World” through August 15. For museum information, got to For a review of the exhibit, see

SFBARS Board Members

Peter Poullada President

Jon Eldan Secretary

Renee Rausin Treasurer

Jacqueline Van Lang Membership

Elizabeth Shedd Newsletter

Hillary Dumas Webmaster

Jim Dixon

Sandra Whitman

Murray Eiland Emeritus

Pat Leiser Emerita

John Sommer, M.D. Emeritus

Members may contact Peter Poullada at

The San Francisco Bay Area Rug Society is a nonprofit organization whose publications and events are supported by your subscriptions. Individual subscriptions are $40 annually, $60 for two people at the same address. Please send renewals, address changes, or subscriptions to Jacqueline Van Lang, SFBARS Membership, 6 Muir Ave., Piedmont, CA 94610. For more information about SFBARS, including information about membership, an archive of past Newsletter articles, rug pictures and other features, please explore the SFBARS website at

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