The French auctioneer prevents Mexican from selling pre-Columbian artefacts


A stone bell tower of Aztec Chalchiuhtlicue water bank, one of pre-Colombian artefacts, is presented to the press at Drouot auction house in Paris, France, 18 September, 2019. REUTERS / Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) – French auction house Millon rejected allegations by the Mexican government that selling pre-Columbian artefacts was illegal and they continued to auction on Wednesday.

Mexican foreign ministry said Tuesday that Mexican cultures seem to be 95 of the 120 pieces at auction, including the pre-Colombian city Teotihuacan, as well as Olmeca and Maya cultures.

Millon's president, Alexandre Millon, told Reuters on Wednesday that Manichak and Jean Aurance, who were listed as the owners of the artefacts, met all the legal criteria to protect their ownership of the collection. they are in love with a piece in a gallery in Paris 1963.

“Mexico's problem is that this collection is exemplary in all its forms: original provenance, publications and exhibitions. It should be a positive platform for Mexican ”, Millon said, before the auction.

The collection includes sculptures, masks and religious artefacts from before 1000 BC to the 18th Century.

“(The Mexican government should use this auction to say 'Look at this sale, it's like these we want' in an attempt to stop other auctions that won't take the same precautions”, continued Millon forward.

The tension of the pre-Colombian artworks comes among a wider discussion on whether Western collectors and museums should return things to their countries of origin. Collectors and museums often claim that they are not adequately cared for.

French President Emmanuel Macron last year was the first West leader to begin a comprehensive review of the artefacts parked during colonial times and promised to return 26 pieces to Benin.

A Mexican ambassador to France, Juan Manuel Gomez-Robledo, said, “Mexico is the right owner of these works of art and we are here to express our dissatisfaction and explain why this not only violates Mexican law but the law. international. ”

Reporting by Antony Paone and Michaela Cabrera; Write Benoit Van Overstraeten; Edited by Richard Lough and Alexandra Hudson

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