by intolerance & greed
"It is easier to destroy than to build" said the Taliban commander, while complaining about the efforts needed to bring down the Buddhas of Bamiyan.
'Lost Treasures' is an art history book documenting the destruction of monuments and artworks through millennia. We often assume it is a recent phenomenon, or the unavoidable consequence of war, while in reality it is often intentional, caused by intolerance - religious, racial and political -; or by greed.
It is a transversal reading of civilisation, art, religion and politics. An accessible and engaging read, a journey of discovery through the heydays and fall of civilisations. A condensed read of history, civilisation, and art.
But isn't it a disheartening story? Not at all, it reads as an optimistic call for tolerance, realising there is no need to agree with others to be able to admire their achievements.
We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it.
The positive outcome would be a new found sense of admiration for the achievements of past civilisations.
And relief in realising the futility of trying to change others into thinking, believing or looking like ourselves; since we live in a world with billions of human beings and a dazzling variety of cultures and languages.
Unburdened by fear, we stop being bewildered by humanity's complexity, and end up being fascinated by it. Enlightened, we all can embrace the common heritage of mankind.