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Ceremonial mask returned to Arizona's Hopi tribe
Bo Lomahquahu, France's sole native American Hopi descendant poses in front of the Drouot auction house on April 12, 2013 in Paris, during the controversial auction of some 70 ceremonial sacred masks originating from the Hopi tribe of Arizona, only a few hours after a court allowed the sale despite opponents saying it amounted to "sacrilege". AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK.
PARIS (AFP).- Tribal rights organisation Survival has returned a ceremonial mask to Arizona's Hopi tribe after it was sold at auction in Paris, the group said on Monday.

The artefact was one of around 70 of the brightly coloured "Kachina" visages and headdresses auctioned for more than 900,000 euros ($1.2 million) in April after a legal challenge failed.

Opponents of the sale included US actor Robert Redford.

Survival said the mask was handed over to Hopi leaders by representatives of the group and lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber without giving further details.

The auction outraged members of the 18,000-strong Hopi tribe, who say the artefacts are blessed with divine spirits. Two Arizona museums had also called for the sale to be cancelled.

A second mask, currently owned by the family of the late French singer Joe Dassin, would also be returned to the Hopi later in the year, Survival added in a statement.

The sale of sacred Native American artefacts has been outlawed in the United States since 1990 -- legislation which has allowed the Hopi tribe to recover items held by American museums in the past -- but the law does not extend to sales overseas.



© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse






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