Mexico City, Mexico — Four anthropological pieces that were purchased online by someone in Australia were returned to Mexico. The pieces are part of the Mexican cultural heritage.
In a joint statement between foreign relations and culture, the government said that the pre-Hispanic pieces were recovered in collaboration with the Government of Australia.
The return of the pieces were acknowledged by the Mexican ambassador to Australia, Eduardo Peña Haller, as well as the Australian Government’s Undersecretary for the Arts, Pip Spence.
In their statement, they said the four pieces were acquired online by three individual buyers in Australia corresponding to a company based in the United States. The pieces were retained by the Australian Customs Office at the time of importation.
Collaboration between both governments began in March, when the Australian government’s Cultural Heritage Office informed the Mexican Embassy in Australia that the Australian Federal Police were in possession of the four objects.
After determining the authenticity of the pieces, the Minister for Communications, Cyber-Security and Arts, Paul Fletcher, ordered their return to Mexico for the end of October.
The returned pieces include “Chinese” polychrome seated figure (pre-Columbian period, western Mexico, Nayarit – 200-500 AD), Figurines of bichromed ladies from Tlatilco (“pretty lady” figures) on a shared base (pre-Columbian period, Valley of Mexico, Tlatilco culture, ca. 800 to 200 BC), Seated Jalisco ceramic figurine, with a female face and sheep features (pre-Columbian period, Western Mexico, Jalisco, ca. 200-500 AD) and Seated Jalisco ceramic figurine, with female face and sheep features (pre-Columbian period, Western Mexico, Jalisco, ca. 200-500 AD).
There were no details provided as to how the Mexican pieces became available for online sale, or who the U.S. company was that sold them. There were also no details on possible charges against the Australian buyers.