Mexico showcases pre-Hispanic artifacts recovered from abroad

Miguel Angel Trinidad Melendez, of the National Coordination of Museums and Galleries at the National Institute of Anthropology and History, participates in the launch of an exhibition

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Miguel Angel Trinidad Melendez, of the National Coordination of Museums and Galleries at the National Institute of Anthropology and History, is participating in the launch of the exhibition “The Greatness of Mexico,” which for the first time in the country contains more than 800 objects representing people from abroad in the past three years and others held in repositories for preservation and the confiscation, at the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, Friday, October 1, 2021 (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

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Miguel Angel Trinidad Melendez, of the National Coordination of Museums and Galleries at the National Institute of Anthropology and History, is participating in the launch of the exhibition “The Greatness of Mexico,” which for the first time in the country contains more than 800 objects representing people from abroad in the past three years and others held in repositories for preservation and the confiscation, at the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, Friday, October 1, 2021 (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Mexico City (AFP) – Two Mexican museums this week opened a massive exhibition of 1,525 pre-Hispanic artifacts, more than half of which have been recovered from abroad.

Mexico has always had a problem with collectors or smugglers taking artifacts out of the country, although this has been illegal since 1972.

But 881 of the sculptures, ships, and other artifacts on display in Mexico City have been returned, either voluntarily by foreign coin collectors or via police confiscation abroad. They were brought back from the United States, Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

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For most people, this is the first time they have seen them in Mexico.

Many of the other 644 pieces were confiscated in Mexico or kept in warehouses for a long time. Forty-six of these are on loan from museums abroad.

“What we gain here is an opportunity for us Mexicans to see these pieces again, or even to see them for the first time,” said Miguel Angel Trinidad, one of the curators.

An example is a beautiful painting from the Mayan civilization, showing a warlord holding an imprisoned opponent. It was previously shown in Los Angeles, California.

Dubbed the Greatness of Mexico, the pieces on display come from pre-Hispanic cultures such as the Maya, Aztecs, and Olmecs, as well as later pieces. The pieces are on display at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and the Colonial Era Museum of the Ministry of Public Education.

The parade coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Mexico City in 1521 and the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821.

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