San Cristóbal de las Casas City Council asks INAH to return works they hold since 1986 and 1993


San Cristóbal De Las Casas, Chis., The city council of San Cristóbal de las Casas requested Diego Prieto, the director-general of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), to formalize a loan or the return of three books and four paintings of the 18th century that have been in his possession since 1993 and 1986, respectively.

The trustee of the council, Miguel Ángel de Los Santos Cruz, explained that in recent days the document was signed for the return of 29 paintings that for 35 years had been in the possession of the INAH, but “it is pending to formalize (the possession), by loan or refund, of three books that were delivered (to the Institute) and four paintings from the 18th century that have not been returned”.

He added: “We are asking that this cultural heritage of San Cristóbal be regularized, either by returning it to the city council or updating it through a loan, because those that exist date from 1986, and on that occasion, they were only signed for one year.”

De Los Santos Cruz declared: “We are making the request again to the director of INAH, Diego Prieto so that the three books are returned to the town hall or formalized through a loan, and the remaining four paintings, which are in the former convent of Santo Domingo, in the museum, and others in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, be returned ”.

He explained that the books held by INAH are Bouquets, without author or year, with the subject of Prayers; another named Explained Art and Perfect Grammar, first book, without author or year, with a note inside of the year 1837, as well as the one entitled Missal in Latin, also without author or year.

Diego Prieto, director-general of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH)

He pointed out that these three volumes were delivered through an act, dated July 1, 1993, to the Centro Cultural de Los Altos de Chiapas through the municipality back then.

The trustee recalled that a few days ago the loan was signed for the INAH to return to the town hall, at the end of July, 29 oil paintings that the Institute has had in its possession for 35 years (allegedly for restoration), which are part of that set of works, all historical, which constitute the cultural heritage of San Cristóbal.

He pointed out that four paintings were left out of the deal, because, according to INAH, they do not have the documentary support that proves that they were delivered to them, and in part, he may be right, because when the delivery was made, in 1986, indeed, only 29 were delivered, but those remaining were delivered later and there is no document to prove it.”

However, he remarked, “we have documentary evidence that the INAH recognizes that these four remaining paintings are property of the city council”. He also recognized that there is evidence, photographs, that indicate that the paintings exhibited are property of the city council.

He added: “That matches the property records we have for those paintings. That is why I insist that the heritage recovery process must take place as soon as possible, since, apparently, there is already a dispute over the ownership of the paintings, which from the perspective of the city council, they belong to them”.

He argued that the city council insists that the institute must return the works of art because otherwise, that will be “an omission” by the administration that does not properly defend the patrimony of San Cristóbal.

Source: La Jornada