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From Aztec to Teotihuacan pieces: Mexico seeks to stop an auction of 85 archaeological objects in France


The Ministry of Culture and the National Institute of Anthropology and History denounce the sale of the pieces to the Prosecutor's Office and ask the international authorities to implement actions to repatriate the objects

The pre-Hispanic vessel that is being auctioned by Maison de Ventes Aux Enchéres Millot et Associés.

From a Mayan vase valued at 60,000 euros to a collection of masks of Teotihuacan origin that are smaller than a 10-peso coin.

The house Maison de Ventes Aux Enchéres Millot et Associés plans to auction 85 archaeological pieces of Mexican origin on December 12 in Paris.

In a joint statement between the Ministry of Culture and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the Mexican authorities asked the auction house to stop the sale of the heritage pieces, which they consider to have "historical, symbolic and cultural value." ”.

In the letter, the Ministry of Culture and the INAH reported that they filed a complaint with the Attorney General's Office.

In addition, they assured that they are carrying out work so that the international authorities implement the necessary actions to repatriate the assets auctioned by the French house.

"INAH specialists carried out the opinion on archeology, from which it is concluded that 85 are pre-Hispanic assets that are part of the cultural heritage of the Mexican nation," they wrote in the statement.

The authorities indicated that the archaeological pieces are protected by the

Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Zones


This regulation also provides for up to 12 years in prison and fines of one million pesos (4,000 days of minimum wage) for people who transfer, introduce or remove cultural pieces from the country.

"The goods in question will be seized and will remain at the disposal of the authorities of the country of origin", indicates the law in its Article 53.

The 85 pieces of Mexican origin are part of a collection of 122 lots that the house seeks to auction under the name

The Empires of Light (III) Three European Private Collections


Les ​​Empires de Lumiere (III) Trois Collections Privées Européennes

, in French) .

The INAH experts assure that they are pieces from various pre-Hispanic territories and cultures: from the Teotihuacan culture, from the Olmec, from the Mixtec and Zapotec from Oaxaca, from the Mayan area, from the Mezcala and Comala styles, from the Gulf coast, from the Bajío, or the Mexican West, among others.

Among the pieces, one stands out, collected by the auction house under the name of

Exceptional Vase.

This object is the most valued in the collection, with an estimated price of 60,000 euros.

In it, you can see an engraving in which a "powerful, richly dressed" lord is seated with one hand resting on the upper part of his thigh and the other raised and, with his finger, points towards the offerings destined for the deity that is in front of him.

In the last three years, the Government of Mexico has recovered more than 9,000 pieces.

The protection of cultural heritage is part of the efforts of the López Obrador Administration for the recovery of heritage stolen "illicitly" and to raise awareness of the value of said assets.

In this repatriation attempt, the country has faced sales of archaeological pieces on other occasions.

The firm Christie's raised more than 3.5 million dollars in 2021 with the auction of pre-Hispanic objects, despite the fact that other countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru joined the rejection.

That same year, the German house Gerhard Hirsch auctioned 74 objects that the Mexican authorities asked to return.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-12-01

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