The largest recovery of cultural property that had been illegally removed from churches and archaeological sites in the country, some for the last nine years, was unveiled today by officials of the National Institute of Anthropology and History
(INAH-Conaculta) and the Attorney General the Republic (PGR). These are 14 colonial religious art works and 144 original pre-Columbian pieces, plus another 36 that are false.
A selection of cultural artifacts rescued was presented to the media at the National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museology (ENCRyM), which specified that the restitution of these objects of inestimable historical value, was made after three searches so far in 2010 in Jalisco, Tlaxcala and Mexico City.
Miguel Angel Echegaray, technical secretary of the Institute, on behalf of Alfonso de Maria y Campos, INAH general director, said the collaboration between the national coordination given on Legal Affairs and Cultural Heritage Conservation Institute, the General Coordination of delegations and the Deputy Attorney Specialized Investigation of Federal Crimes of the PGR, brought the return of this heritage.
Soon we will evaluate the fate of archaeological pieces, since by law are owned by the nation. As colonial works, once investigations are completed and all specialized studies and restoration works that they deserve are concluded, we will make the delivery, in optimal conditions, to the communities from which they were stolen."
He emphasized that each of these goods has a historical, cultural and aesthetic value because they are representative of the period in which they were made, their materials are characteristic of a historical record. Therefore, experts from INAH, will study. photograph, perform ultraviolet, infrared, X-ray exams, as well as do documentary research.
For example, he noted, "some of the religious-themed paintings shown here are excellent works and very representative of the school of painting in New Spain, which unfortunately is given an economic value on the art market, making them susceptible to being stolen from the temples and their communities. "
For his part, Arthur Germain Rangel, Attorney in Specialized Investigation of Federal Crimes, explained that since late 2008, they collected information and images of cultural property stolen in Mexico.
"Currently, the Attorney General's Office has a catalog of stolen cultural property, information on about 400 works of sacred art, data that has been validated by the INAH. It has been updated constantly and we now have the information already gathered covering the years 1999-2010.
"The work will be intensified, the three levels of government and INAH staff of each state have committed themselves to continue locating and arresting those who commit these crimes. The federal government renews its commitment to preserving the historical and cultural heritage of the country and fight crime," he said.