The statuettes were delivered voluntarily by US citizens
In February 28, Mexico achieved the restitution of a complete lot made up of nine pre-Columbian statuettes, belonging to the Zapotec culture. The figures were recovered on February 9, 2023, in the city of Clayton, Georgia, United States. It was through a statement, by which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) exposed the details.
These are important actions since, according to the authorities, the cultural heritage and historical memory of our country is being recovered.
The pieces were handed over to officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the General Consulate of Mexico in Atlanta, and they were returned voluntarily by the heirs of Mrs. Eileen Patricia Leathers, who live in Sky Valley, Georgia, in United States.
“In the act, the representative of the heirs was satisfied and proud to return the pieces to our country and thus collaborate with the efforts that the Mexican authorities have undertaken to recover the cultural and historical heritage that is outside our borders in a unlawful way,” said the Institute.
The opinions made by specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) confirmed that they are nine small heads with anthropomorphic characteristics, originally from Monte Albán, Oaxaca, belonging to the Zapotec culture (150 BC – 700 AD), which are property of the Mexican nation, defined and protected in accordance with the Federal Law on Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Monuments and Zones.
Regarding the repatriated assets, these will remain under the protection of the INAH to carry out the corresponding analysis and proceed with their care, conservation, and dissemination.
“Private collectors abroad who currently have Mexican pieces in their possession are invited to join in the protection and safeguarding of these assets, and to return them for their study, conservation, and dissemination, since they are objects that bear witness to identity and memory. of the original peoples of Mexico”, exhorted the INAH.
It should be remembered that between 2018 and 2022, the Mexican Government recovered around 9,000 pieces from abroad that it considers national heritage. They were mostly auctions that the Mexican government managed to stop, which were carried out in cities like New York, Paris and Rome.
Of the latest assets recovered, in December 2022, Mexico repatriated a total of 223 archaeological pieces through the country’s embassy in the Netherlands. Which were part of the heritage of Mexico.
On the other hand, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has exposed on various occasions what this strategy to recover heritage is is made up of three actions, voluntary delivery, that is, raising awareness, insisting, who have the rights to different types of collections. Second, the confiscations that are by law and third, the cancellation of auctions that this had not been achieved until now.
The suspension of unauthorized sales is of the utmost importance. Initially, Mexico had to verify that the origin of what was being auctioned was illegal. However, the process has already changed, since Mexico is the one who defends the thesis that “whoever auctions must show the legal origin of what they are selling and not the other way around.”