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Mexico returns bronze sculpture to Nigeria

The customs agency of Mexico's Tax Administration Service, in coordination with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture, returned a bronze Ife sculpture of the Yoruba people to Nigeria.

Mexico returns bronze sculpture to Nigeria
Credit: Meliton Tapia, INAH

The sculpture was discovered by customs officials at the Mexico City International Airport when the buyer tried to get it into the country.  The sculpture and its provenance were authenticated by experts and agencies of both countries, with the participation of specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History. It had been exported illegally.

Mexico strongly opposes illicit trafficking in cultural property. By returning it to NIgeria, the government shows its commitment to protecting cultural heritage. International monitoring and cooperation are essential for complying with current laws, including the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

Mexico returns bronze sculpture to Nigeria
Credit: Meliton Tapia, INAH

Mexico and Nigeria have strong bilateral ties and channels of dialogue that made it possible for this sculpture to be returned.  On behalf of the Nigerian government, Ambassador Aminu Iyawa thanked Mexico for its asisstance.

The illicit trafficking of cultural property is one of the main causes of the impoverishment of cultural heritage. It deprives the world of valuable information about the origin, context and nature of these objects.

Source: Gobierno de Mexico [February 25, 2020]


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