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Over 250 Pieces of the Leonardo Patterson Affair are a Sham
Figure of Chac mool which INAH experts determined to be a fake. Photo INAH.

MEXICO CITY.- Within the framework of actions that the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico (PGR) and the Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have coordinately adopted regarding the recovery of cultural property illegally taken from Mexican Territory, and particularly in the “Leonardo Patterson” affaire, from whom German authorities seized a collection of pieces, the following is informed:

1. After performing a detailed analysis by direct inspection in the city of Munich, Germany, where the above mentioned seized pieces are being kept in custody, INAH experts found that 252 objects out of a total of 1029 are false, i.e., they are copies recently manufactured and thus do not belong to Mexico’s archaeological heritage.

The specialists demonstrate that several of the forged pieces in fact evidence the use of modern machinery and tools while being assembled. Among the false objects are several of large format, such as an Olmeca head and a chac mool, as well as bas-reliefs made in stucco, columns, masks, doorjambs, friezes, and lintels and mural fragments that copy the Mixteco style.

2. 86 of the analyzed objects do not come from the Mesoamerica region and are unconnected to Mexico’s heritage.

3. Of the grand total of 1,029 objects, 691 are authentic and originate from Mexico’s current territory, including anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures made in terracotta, basalt stone and limestone; terracotta kettles and urns, some polychromatic; miscellaneous figurines; obsidian and stone projectile tips and knives; small braziers and incense burners; obsidian ornaments; a mask carved in metamorphic rock; stone seals, incense holders, cases, necklaces, and strings.

For the execution of all applicable legal procedures, INAH experts had at all times the direct support of SRE through the Embassy of Mexico in Germany and the General Consulate of Mexico in Frankfurt, as well as the assistance of PGR through the Legal Attaché’s Office for Europe.

In accordance with the Mexican Federal Law of Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Monuments and Zones, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office and the National Institute of Anthropology and History will continue working together to recover this heritage resorting to all legal procedures and authorities concerned with this case. They reiterate their commitment to safeguard the Mexican cultural heritage.

National Institute of Anthropology and History | Leonardo Patterson | Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs |

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