There is an international market for all types of sacred art. It is bought and sold, sometimes for astronomical sums. The trade is transnational and it is not always fully legal. It should be said that not all sacred art on the market is either stolen or illicit, but because so much sacred art is either owned collectively (and thus ownership cannot be transferred) or is considered cultural property of its country of origin, the ownership history of religious pieces on the market should be carefully scrutinized.

The appeal of sacred art to buyers is complex. Some buy religious art because of personal devotion. Other out of an interest in the artistic qualities of these pieces. Still others consider religious pieces to be decorative elements for their homes. Still others consider these pieces to be investments. The market for various types of sacred art is understudied academically.

Recent Articles

Greek police arrest 81-year-old ex-poultry baron for undeclared antiquities (Europe; Greece)

Tornos News. (2017) Greek police arrest 81-year-old ex-poultry baron for undeclared antiquities. Tornos News. 15 February

How the estate of Thailand’s missing ‘Silk King’ was among the winners of Reagan’s 1986 Tax Reform Act (South and East Asia; Thailand; Americas; United States of America)

Stoilas, Helen. (2017) How the estate of Thailand's missing 'Silk King' was among the winners of Reagan's 1986 Tax Reform Act. The Art Newspaper. 9 January

Web of smugglers linked to New York art gallery (Americas; United States of America; South and East Asia; India)

Rohit, T.K. (2016) Web of smugglers linked to New York art gallery. The Hindu. 24 December

Angkorian Artifact Dealer Arrested in New York (Americas; United States of America; South and East Asia; Cambodia)

Paviour, Ben. (2016) Angkorian Artifact Dealer Arrested in New York. The Cambodia Daily. 23 December

Art dealer Nancy Wiener who sold stolen Buddha to NGA arrested (Americas; United States of America; South and East Asia; India; Cambodia; Oceania; Australia)

Boland, Michaela (2016) Art dealer Nancy Wiener who sold stolen Buddha to NGA arrested. The Australian. 22 December.

New York Art Dealer Charged With Trafficking Illegal Antiquities (Americas; United States of America; South and East Asia; India; Cambodia; Oceania; Australia)

Bannon, Lisa. (2016) New York Art Dealer Charged With Trafficking Illegal Antiquities. The Wall Street Journal. 21 December

Prominent Antiquities Dealer Accused of Selling Stolen Artifacts (Americas; United States of America; South and East Asia; India; Cambodia; Oceania; Australia)

Mashberg, Tom. (2016) Prominent Antiquities Dealer Accused of Selling Stolen Artifacts. The New York Times. 21 December

Crowns, necklaces of Rampur Nawabs up for auction; family says no clue how it reached London (South and East Asia; India)

Fareed, Faisal (2016) Crowns, necklaces of Rampur Nawabs up for auction; family says no clue how it reached London. Two Circles. 30 November.

Why the Indian antiquities market is important to Contemporary art (South and East Asia; India)

DMello, Rosalyn (2016) Why the Indian antiquities market is important to Contemporary art. Vogue. 30 November.

Pondy art galleries under scanner after idol theft (South and East Asia; India)

Dominique, Bosco (2016) Pondy art galleries under scanner after idol theft. The Times of India. 28 October.