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Two dozen archaeological pieces from private Switzerland collection returned to Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico — The city of Bern, Switzerland has returned 24 of Mexico’s archaeological pieces to the country. The Mexican Embassy in Switzerland received 24 archaeological pieces declared cultural heritage by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

The 24 pieces were handed over by officials of the Federal Office of Culture of Switzerland. The lot is made up of molded clay vessels, votive axes and other elements associated with various Mesoamerican cultural regions.

In a ceremony presided over by the head of the Specialized Corps for the International Transfer of Cultural Property, Fabienne Baraga, the Government of Switzerland formalized the delivery of these pieces on February 28.

On March 4, the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE) of Mexico announced their return.

The pieces were returned to Mexico by a Swiss citizen who inherited from her father a collection of pre-Hispanic Latin American objects. The pieces were collected for more than 50 years. Upon her inheritance, she wanted to return the pieces to their original possessors.

The pieces were signed over for return to Mexico. Photo: SRE February 28, 2024.

During the delivery of the pieces, Ambassador Cecilia Jaber Breceda, on behalf of the Government of Mexico, expressed her gratitude for this act of restitution and underlined the importance given to the protection of the archaeological and cultural heritage of the country.

This delivery is part of the Agreement between the Government of Mexico and the Swiss Federal Council regarding the Importation and Return of Cultural Property, signed in Mexico City, on August 24, 2017, in force since July 25, 2018.

According to the preliminary opinion of the INAH, the lot is made up of 16 anthropomorphic figures, four vessels in modeled clay, two votive axes in igneous rock, possibly basalt, a modeled clay urn and a box in modeled clay, made in different periods and regions of Mexico.

The 24 pieces were returned to Mexico from a private 50 year old collection. Photo: SRE February 28, 2024.

These pieces will be transported to Mexico in the coming days so that through the Legal Consultancy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), they will be delivered to the INAH, an institution of the federal Ministry of Culture, for their due protection, study and guard.