Rachel Chase, Peru This Week
Julu 16, 2014
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art currently houses hundreds of artifacts from the Mochica culture— and Peru wants them back.
Peruvian cultural artifacts are making their way home from all over the world— Sweden’s return of the Paracas textiles being a particularly high-profile incidence of repatriation. Now, the regional government of Piura is looking to get back 400 pieces currently housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
El Comercio reports that the pieces in question were found in the Loma Negra cemetery, an area in which a number of Mochica elite were buried. Grave robbers sacked the tombs in the 1960s, and no extensive investigation into the site has been carried out, writes El Comercio.
According to El Comercio, the pieces arrived in New York in the 1970s, and include metal masks made of copper and gold as well as a large amount of ceramic objects.
Rafael Sime, regional director of culture, said that returning the pieces is “the most sensible [thing to do].”
Sime added that “I think we need to think about where we are going to exhibit the pieces. We must know if we’re prepared with the adequate [facilities] in order to generate a museum plan. That’ll require a budget. We’re going to put together a project to look into these details.”
Famed archaeologist Walter Alva echoed Sime’s sentiments in a recent interview in Piura: “We can appeal to the good will of the American government. But a museum is needed to push this measure forward and to retrieve the pieces. Without a museum, it’s more difficult.”