In the areas of Iraq and Syria controlled by the Islamic State, residents are recording on cellphones the damage done to antiquities by the extremist group ISIS.
At Baghdad’s recently reopened National Museum of Iraq, new iron bars protect galleries of ancient artifacts from the worst-case scenario.
These are just a couple of examples of the continuing efforts to guard the treasures of Iraq and Syria, two countries rich with artifacts created in the world’s earliest civilizations, according to The New York Times.
Yet only so much can be done under fire, and time is running out as the Islamic State moves forward with the systematic looting and destruction of antiquities.
Last week, officials said, the group ISIS (aka ISIL, Daesh) demolished parts of two of northern Iraq’s’s most prized ancient cities, Nimrud and Hatra, according to the New York Times.
Sunday, residents said militants destroyed parts of Dur Sharrukin, a 2,800-year-old Assyrian site near the village of Khorsabad.
Islamic State militants have called ancient art idolatry to be destroyed. However, they also steal art and antiquities to sell for money.
Officials and experts who track the thefts through local informants and satellite imagery, according to the New York Times.
A new video reportedly shows militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) destroying ancient artifacts at a museum in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Militants in the footage are shown pushing statues to the floor and smashing others with hammers. The Guardian reports that a man speaking to the camera then aims to justify the acts, citing how they didn’t exist in the time of the Prophet Muhammad and were worshipped by “irreligious people.”
Islamic State militants armed with sledgehammers and jackhammers have destroyed the priceless ancient artifacts, according to Yahoo News.
Some archaeologists and heritage experts compared it to the 2001 demolition of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
The United Nations’ cultural agency immediately demanded an emergency meeting of the Security Council on the matter.
In January, the Philadelphia Museum will open “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art,” a sprawling survey of its holdings of works by black artists. Featuring 75 artworks by over 50 artists, the show’s earliest pieces include silhouettes by Moses Williams that date to 1802, pre-Civil War decorative arts by free and enslaved artists, and potter David Drake’s bible-inscribed storage jar sculpture.
The Wall Street Journal reports states the centerpiece of the exhibition is undoubtedly Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1898 painting titled The Annunciation. Acquired by the museum in 1899, it was the first piece by an African American artist added to its collection. The show traces black artists through many of the major movements in American art history, from Cubism with Aaron Douglas’s Birds in Flight (1927) to Modernism with works by William Henry Johnson and Elizabeth Catlett. Both can be seen in the figurative painting of Harlem Renaissance artist Jacob Lawrence.