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Lowe Art Museum returns three ancient sculptures carved in basalt stone to Mexico
"Noble Priest", one of the three sculptures carved in basalt stone that the Lowe Art Museum of the University of Miami returned to Mexico. The sculptures had been stolen by Leonardo Augustus Patterson, a famous art dealer currently imprisoned in Spain, an official source announced on September 05, 2013 in Mexico City. AFP PHOTO/INAH.

MEXICO CITY.- Given the measures that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (SRE), the Attorney General’s office (PGR), the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Institute of Arts and Literature (INBA) have adopted in order to recover protected cultural property that concerns the Mexican Nation, it has been informed that the past 15 of August, the Lowe Museum of Art of the University of Miami has returned to the Mexican state three archaeological pieces of great size:

They are the following archaeological Works:

• “Snake head”; carved in basalt attributed to the Early Postclassic period (900 – 1200 AD) from the Mesoamerican region of the Central High Plateau. (39.3 x 85 centimeters) [15.4 x 33.4 inches].

• “Tlaloc, God of rain” (200 - 900 AD); stele carved in basalt rock, with the representation of this Mesoamerican deity. (71 x 40.6 centimeters) [27.9 x 15.9 inches].

• “Noble or priest” (600 - 200 AD); stele carved in basalt rock from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, (146 x 95.5 x 6.8 centimeters) [57.4 x 37.5 x 2.6 centimeters].

The return of the archaeological works returned above is a result of the direct intervention of the SRE, the PGR, INAH and the General Consulate of Mexico in Miami. Also, the Lowe Museum contributed directly to its return helping corroborate that the pieces where unlawfully extracted from Mexican territory.

The conclusive evidence of this case helped corroborate that the pieces were found linked to illegitimate operations of Leonardo Augusts Patterson, identified internationally as an alleged trafficker of cultural goods, who is actually being detained in Spain for the same reasons.

The return of the pieces was made without setback within the timeframe set by the Program for the Recovery of Cultural Goods that the SRE, the PGR, INAH and the INBA have implemented in a permanent manner.

The Mexican government thanks the Lowe Museum of Art of the University of Miami for their good disposition, which was fundamental in order to conclude the case’s investigation.

Given the inherent bond between the Mexican identity and the archaeological pieces belonging to cultures anciently established in Mexican territory, as well as their unique and irreplaceable nature the SRE, PGR and INAH have adopted permanent measures to give them protection and procure their recovery in the cases of pieces that are suspected of being unlawfully removed from Mexican territory.

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