ISIS has once again struck a historic temple in Palymra, although the structure is “still standing,” according to the BBC. Following last week’s devastating destruction of two ancient religious sites in Syria, militants yesterday attempted to blow up the Temple of Bel, a 2,000-year-old building that served as the city’s center of religious life. Maamoun Abdulkarim, head of the Syrian Department of Antiquities and Museums, confirmed an explosion within the temple walls, but the full extent of the damage remains uncertain. He described the structure as “the most important temple in Syria and one of the most important in the whole Middle East.”
As stewards of antiquities, museum professionals around the world are particularly horrified and deeply saddened by the destruction in Syria. The demolition of the Palmyra monuments is akin to when an animal species becomes extinct; the loss is irreparable and diminishes all of us. To pay our respects, we are sharing works of art from Palmyra that are in our collection here. We encourage our colleagues to show solidarity by reblogging and adding objects from their respective collections using the hashtag #PalmyraArtworks.
Funerary Bust from Palmyra, Syria, Palmyra, 3rd century, Gift of Nasli M. Heeramaneck (M.82.77.2)
Funerary Head from Palmyra, Syria, Palmyra, 3rd century, Gift of Robert Blaugrund (M.82.77.2)