Antiquities Lost, Casualties of War

03 Oct 2014 2:24 PM | Anonymous

Antiquities Lost, Casualties of War

In Syria and Iraq, Trying to Protect a Heritage at Risk

Yasser Tabbaa, a specialist on Islamic art and architecture, remembers taking many trips to a 13th-century shrine dedicated to the Imam Awn al-Din, in Mosul in northern Iraq. The building was one of the few to survive Mongol invasion, never mind the destructive effects of weather and time. And this shrine had a stunning vaulted ceiling, like a honeycomb.

“It is a beautiful pyramidal tower at the edge of the Tigris,” said Mr. Tabbaa, who taught at New York University Abu Dhabi and lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.

His heart fell this summer, however, when he saw an online video of the shrine exploding in a cloud of dust, blown up by the militant group the Islamic State.