Intentional destruction of sacred art is often a major element of conflict and conquest. It has a profoundly destabilizing effect on individuals and communities, threatening identity and social cohesion. To destroy sacred sites is analogous to destroying culture. The motivation to destroy religious heritage tends to be at the very root of conflict. Although a number of national and international measures are in place to prevent the destruction of sacred art and protect holy sites during conflict, they sheer power of sacred destruction ensures that these sites are always under threat.

Destruction of sacred sites via negligence or through natural causes is a separate but related issue. In a perfect world, such threats would have been mitigated before destruction occurs. When unintentional destruction of sacred art occurs we must evaluate what went wrong.

Recent Articles

Teenager caused £5,000 of damage to ancient church in Dalgety Bay (Europe; United Kingdom)

Dunfermline Press. (2017) Teenager caused £5,000 of damage to ancient church in Dalgety Bay. Dunfermline Press. 17 March

Los enemigos del patrimonio histórico (Europe; Spain)

(The enemies of historic heritage)

Ruiz, Aludena. (2017) Los enemigos del patrimonio histórico. El Diario. 13 March

The Monk Who Saves Manuscripts From ISIS (West and Central Asia; Iraq; Syria)

Fagotto, Matteo. (2017) The Monk Who Saves Manuscripts From ISIS. The Atlantic. 23 February

Maoists deny hand in destruction of ancient Ganesha idol; Cops have their doubts (South and East Asia; India)

Kaiser, Ejaz. (2017) Maoists deny hand in destruction of ancient Ganesha idol; Cops have their doubts. The New Indian Express. 12 February

Vandals target display of multifaith artworks at Gloucester Cathedral (Europe; United Kingdom)

Thorpe, Vanessa. (2017) Vandals target display of multifaith artworks at Gloucester Cathedral. The Guardian. 12 February

Chhattisgarh: Ancient Ganesha idol damaged by suspected Maoists successfully restored (South and East Asia; India)

ANI. (2017) Chhattisgarh: Ancient Ganesha idol damaged by suspected Maoists successfully restored. Business Standard. 2 February

1100-year-old Ganesha idol falls from Bastar hilltop, cops suspect Maoists’ role (South and East Asia; India)

Drolia, Rashmi. (2017) 1100-year-old Ganesha idol falls from Bastar hilltop, cops suspect Maoists' role. The Times of India. 28 January

बस्तर: पहाड़ी से चोरी हुई हजार साल पुरानी गणेश प्रतिमा (South and East Asia; India)

(Bastar: ancient Ganesh idol stolen from Dholkal)

Khabar Non Stop. (2017) बस्तर: पहाड़ी से चोरी हुई हजार साल पुरानी गणेश प्रतिमा. Khabar Non Stop. 27 January

Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art to open Friday after two-year closure (Africa; Egypt)

El-Aref, Nevine. (2017) Cairo's Museum of Islamic Art to open Friday after two-year closure. Ahram Online. 18 January

El Obispado de Cádiz afronta una multa por abandonar una iglesia paleocristiana (Europe; Spain)

(The bishopric of Cádiz faces fine for abandoning early Christian church)

Cañas, Jesús A. (2017) El Obispado de Cádiz afronta una multa por abandonar una iglesia paleocristiana. El País. 18 January

Recent Posts

Sacred Heritage in Slovakia Regenerated? (30th July 2015) (Europe; Slovakia)

by Barbora Brederova

300 photos of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur pre-earthquake (Dec 2014) (6th May 2015) (South and East Asia; Nepal)

Like most people, I was devastated to hear about the earthquake in Nepal, a site of particular focus for Stolen Gods. I learned about the quake while on fieldwork in Mexico and, like most, felt helpless in the face of tragedy. I know that my friends in Nepal are safe. Not everyone can say that. Sacred Art has taken centre stage in the aftermath of the earthquake, at times and unfortunately pushing human tragedy from worldwide focus. We need to think about people first, and then objects. Yet what I know is objects and I would like to offer what I have.