8 December 2023 The Future is the Product of the Past

Artifacts for sale offered at a Dutch auction house returned to Peru

The Dutch government announced in a press release today that the artifacts that were put up for sale at an auction house were returned to Peru after the examination.

Arjen Uijterlinde, the Dutch Ambassador for International Cultural Cooperation, delivered a collection of privately held archaeological items to Peruvian Ambassador Marisol Agüero today.

The 28-piece collection was revealed when it was put up for sale at an auction house in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Information and Heritage Inspectorate investigated the items’ origins, after which the owner voluntarily returned them, in view of their importance to Peru’s cultural heritage.

The Peruvian government stated in its request for the artifacts’ repatriation that the pieces came from archaeological sites or excavations that were not authorized by Peruvian authorities. After receiving notification that numerous artifacts were being offered for sale at an auction house, the Inspectorate launched an inquiry, which found that the pieces had been purchased in the 1970s by the present owner’s father.

cultura-chimú
The photographs are examples from the Chimu culture.

Following Peru’s request and the Inspectorate’s inquiry, the owner willingly gave up the artifacts, allowing them to be included in the country’s cultural heritage collection once more. During the handover ceremony, Peruvian officials expressed their gratitude for the return of these cultural items, which would be publicly displayed once they are returned to Peru.

The 28 objects, dated between 200 BC and 1,500 AD, come from various cultures. The artifacts belong to the pre-Columbian cultures: Chimú, Chancay, Moche, Wari, and Vicús.

The collection consists mainly of pottery pieces, including decorative jugs and figurines in the form of humans and animals. A number of colorful decorative textile fragments were also returned, as well as a collection of seeds.

The return of this collection to Peru was carried out in the spirit of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

Photos are representative.

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