Avodah Zarah 41 - Statues

One is prohibited to benefit from an object that was used, even once, for idol worship . What is one to do with images whose history - whether they were used for idolatry or served as ornamentations - is not known? According to Rabbi Meir, all images are prohibited, because they are worshipped at least once a year on a specific date. But the Sages say that all images are permitted, except one that has in its hand a staff, a bird, or a sphere.

The above disagreement only applies to larger cities, whose dwellers have enough money to create images for the sake of art. However, those in the villages are always prohibited, since they are only made with the utilitarian purpose of idol worship.

Art: William-Adolphe Bouguereau