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The Teak Column of al-Qalis


AIYS member Dr. Lily Filson reroutes religious loot through the 6th and 8th centuries, via the Teak Column of al-Qalis, produced in Yemen, and plundered for Saudi Arabia.


A tall wooden column towers over pilgrims to the heart of the Islamic faith in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Installed around the 8th century as Islamic pious plunder, it is one the last surviving remnants of the Christian church al-Qalis, erected in Sana’a, Yemen over a century beforehand. Revealing unique religious motifs, mosaics, and materials from Yemen, Ethiopia, and Egypt, it stands as a silent witness to centuries of conquest and cultural exchange between the Christian Byzantine and Aksumite, and emergent Islamic empires. But as Saudi Arabia's campaign of aerial bombardment continues to destroy Yemen today, its tales of tolerance make a loud call to rescue the region and its historical records, before they are forever lost.


PRESENTER: Dr. Lily Filson, Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

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