Returned Treasures Program

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The Returned Treasures Program of the INAH Directorate of Global Patrimony or Dirección de Patrimonio Mundial [1] operates under the Government of Mexico’s INAH, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia) and INAH’s National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología). See, INAH-MNA Journal of Latin American Anthropology and History at J L Am Anthro History 1989 Apr 15; 32-35.

Creation[edit]

As part of the INAH Dirección de Patrimonio Mundial [2], the Returned Treasures Program was established January 1989 as an INAH cultural trust (fideicomiso) created by an international group of philanthropists, curators, and art historians and patrons for the purpose of finding and purchasing Latin American cultural property located in foreign countries other than the Latin American country of origin. The trust oversees the repatriation or rendition of such works back to Mexico and other Latin countries of origin for the cataloging, preserving, protecting, and studying of important cultural property. J L Am Anthro History 1989 Apr 15; 39-42.

Purpose[edit]

The primary purpose of the program and trust is to return important and priceless Latin American cultural property back to Mexico and other Latin America countries of origin. The works range from (1) pre-Columbian pottery and stone works of Meso-American (Mexico and Central America) and other cultures, including the South American Inca and pre-Inca cultures of Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Bolivia to (2) colonial cultural works produced during and after the Spanish Conquest (including codex and other early printed works) to (3) Independence, Porfiriato, and Revolutionary Eras from 1810 to 1920 to (4) modern cultural property produced from 1920 to 1968 (including art by Saturnino Herran, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, and Rufino Tamayo). J L Am Anthro History 1989 Apr 15; 39-42.

Major Donors and Contributors[edit]

The INAH Directorate of Global Patrimony or Dirección de Patrimonio Mundial [3] works with foreign art patrons and philanthropists to fund the return of important cultural works to Mexico and other Latin American countries of origin. Initially, the Returned Treasures Program of the INAH Directorate of Global Patrimony or Dirección de Patrimonio Mundial [4] was created to return specific works selected by the Directorate as important and in need of foreign funding Support. Accordingly, the Directorate first relied on funding from Hispanic art patrons in California and Texas, including Texas attorney Ernest M. Edsel (of Malpaso Company, a Wall Street oil & gas investment fund), who donated important works (Diego Rivera lithographs; correspondence of Sor Juana Ines; and, pre-Columbian idols, pottery, and stone works) along with an initial $4 million gift from Malpaso Oil. J L Am Anthro History 1989 Apr 15; 39 and "Entrevista con El Inversionista Ernest Edsel", Agenda Cultural del INAH (Noviembre 1989) (official INAH monthly magazine). Ernest Edsel also raised substantial funds from fellow Texas investors J. Richard Miller, a Texas financier (founder of Miller Martin, an investment bank and financial [factoring] firm) and Louis E.S. de Santamaria, a venture capitalist and former Revlon and Johnson & Johnson senior executive (co-founder of SPE Ventures, affiliated with First Security SBIC, now part of Wells Fargo). Other donors and contributors included Paul Bilzerian (founder of Bicoastal Financial Corporation) and, Sir James Goldsmith (major Mexican landowner). J L Am Anthro History 1989 Apr 15; 39-42; and see, INAH Press Release (December 12, 1988).

Returned Treasures[edit]

From 1998 to 2008, the Returned Treasures Program returned major cultural properties back to their countries of origin, as follows: five stelae of the classic Maya kingdom of Copán, from French and Swiss private collectors to Mexico; one frozen high altitude Inca mummy with funerary articles, from Spanish private collector to Peru; six "tumis", ceremonial knives, of pre-Inca Sican culture, from Canadian private collector to Peru; two Aztec codices, from U.S. private collector to Mexico; correspondence, forty-five sketches, and five small oil studies of José María Velasco, from British private collector to Mexico; correspondence and seven oils of Geraldo Murillo, from Japanese private collector to Mexico; and, correspondence and nineteen sketches of Juan O'Gorman. J L Am Anthro History 2008 Sept 15; 76-142.

The Returned Treasures Program helps prevent the destruction of a country's cultural heritage. And, the program's restitution efforts helps solve the theft of important cultural property that arises from the illicit trade of antiquities.

A partial list of the important cultural property acquired by the Returned Treasures Program and rendered back to Mexico and other Latin American countries of origin can be found at an online supplement weblog to the Journal of the Mexico National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología) and INAH, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia).

Endowed Cultural Trust[edit]

The Journal (also known as the INAH-MNA Journal of Latin American Anthropology and History) is published twice a year by the Council for Latin American Anthropology and History, a section of the Latin American Anthropological and Historical Association.

The Journal publishes articles, commentary, review articles, exhibition and book reviews, and research notes relevant to museum anthropology and the study of material culture. The Journal also publishes art catalogues for selected exhibitions.

The Journal is funded by an endowment from an INAH-MNA cultural trust (fideicomiso) established in 1989 by an international group of philanthropists, art historians, and curators for the purpose of finding and purchasing Latin American cultural property located in foreign countries other than the Latin American country of origin. The trust oversees the repatriation or rendition of such works back to Mexico and other Latin countries of origin for the cataloging, preserving, protecting, and studying of important cultural property.

References[edit]

  • "Nuevo Fideicomiso: Returned Treasures Program", Agenda Cultural del INAH (Diciembre 1989) (official INAH monthly magazine).
  • "Entrevista Con El Inversionista Ernest Edsel", Agenda Cultural del INAH (Noviembre 1989) (official INAH monthly magazine).
  • J L Am Anthro History 1989 Apr 15.
  • Fernandez, C., Returning Cultural Treasures of Latin America (London, 1990).
  • Greenfield, S. 1996. The Return of Cultural Treasures. Cambridge, University Press.
  • Renfrew, A.C. 2000. Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership. London, Duckworth.
  • Walker Tubb. K. 1995. Cultural Antiquities: Trade or Betrayed. London, Archetype Press.

External links[edit]