Heritage

Museums in Mexico display artifacts recovered from abroad

Published : October 02, 2021 16:29 IST

The exhibition has more than 800 pieces repatriated from abroad on display. Photo: Marco Ugarte/AP/picture alliance

Mexicans will see most items on display at the exhibition for the first time in their country.

A second museum in Mexico displaying pre-Hispanic and historical artifacts, mostly recovered from abroad, opened on October 1. Despite laws to prevent taking artifacts out of its borders, Mexico has had a long history of collectors and traffickers smuggling historical goods out of the country.

Items seen in Mexico 'for the first time'

Most items on display at the show called "The Greatness of Mexico" will be seen by Mexicans for the first time in their country. "What is being gained here is the possibility for us Mexicans to see these pieces again, or even to see them for the first time," said Miguel Angel Trinidad, one of the exhibition curators.

More than half the artifacts on display at the exhibition in Mexico City — 881 out of 1,525 — were returned by foreign collectors or through police seizures outside the country. The sculptures, vessels and other artifacts were returned from the United States, Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

What are the artifacts?

Many pieces on display come from pre-Hispanic cultures like the Mayas, Aztecs and Olmecs, but some later pieces have also been added. On display, for example, is an ancient Mayan stela, which shows a warlord holding a captured rival. In the past, it had been on display in Los Angeles, California.

The exhibit will be on display at the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City and the museum of the Public Education Department. It coincides with the 500th anniversary of the conquest of Mexico City by the Spanish in 1521, as well as the 200th anniversary of the consummation of Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821.

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