Two private collectors from Germany have voluntarily returned 34 pre-Columbian artifacts including pieces made by the Mayas to the Mexican Embassy in the city of Berlin.
The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that about three dozen archaeological pieces were handed over to the country’s embassy in the city of Berlin in Germany by two private collectors who were not named on Wednesday on 16th June 2021.
Alejandro Celorio who is the Mexican foreign minister’s legal consultant said: “Two German citizens approached our embassy in Berlin to express their interest in returning archaeological pieces that were in the possession of their families.”
The pieces which include bowls and other vessels, seals and an Olmec mask made by the cultures of the Gulf Coast, Central Highlands, the West and the Mayan area were recovered through a virtual ceremony led by Mexico’s Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto and Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
Frausto thanked the two individuals and revealed that a total of 5,464 artifacts and historical objects have found their way back to their homeland in recent years.
She said: “The people of Germany and Mexico have shown today that cultural heritage unites us and that a respectful dialogue between nations, based on their culture, builds maps different from those that we have normally seen only from the point of view of one dominant culture to another.”
Foreign Secretary Ebrard welcomed the return of the pieces and emphasized that the practice of recovering heritage of great and ancient civilizations has become a day-to-day priority of Mexican diplomacy.
Among the archaeological pieces which were handed over to the embassy, there are numerous anthropomorphic figures made of clay in addition to bowls and other vessels.
According to experts, the most remarkable ones include a 1200-1600 BC metamorphic rock mask from the Olmec culture which dates back to Mesoamerica’s preclassic period, two heads in Totonac style dating back to the classic period (250-900 AD) in addition to a postclassic period clay bowl made by the Mayas in between 100 and 1521 AD.
The general director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) Diego Prieto Hernandez said: “Mexico’s heritage has to shine throughout the world which is why the Ministry of Culture and the INAH are promoting exhibitions so that people from Europe, North and Latin America, Asia and Africa become aware of it through the generosity of our nation and not by illegal trafficking.”
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