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Religion has been a popular sculptural theme for millennia due to the fact that sculpture has played an integral role in many religious devotions. Buddhism, for example, brought religious sculpture figures to East Asia, where there was no earlier comparable tradition. In the 10th century, the Christian Church initiated a Church-building program, creating a demand for Christian Romanesque sculpture that is still a staple of Christianity.
Since antiquity, portable sculpture was among the most common type of religious art and remains a popular theme today. An exception to this can be seen in Judaism's and Islam's practice of Aniconism, the ban of religious sculpture or other forms of art, which led to the destruction and condemning of religious sculpture. Today, religious art, including sculpture, is a popular genre at auctions.
No one is certain when the first religious art was made. The earliest known variations of religious art appear to have begun during the Neolithic era
"Standing Bishop Saint," a late 14th century Italian sculpture carved from wood, sold at Sotheby's London in July 2013 for $104,500
Early forms of Christianity and Buddhism did not accept large religious sculptures, but later reversed views. Large sculptures became an important component of worship in both religions