Peru has recently requested that their ancient Paracas mantles, textile wrappings that were used to bury the dead and for shaman costumes, be returned to Peruvian museums. Mantles were extremely labor-intensive and have intricate embroidered designs that are important to Paracas culture. The 2,000-year-old textiles currently reside in the Swedish world culture museum, Världskulturmuseet. They were questionably acquired from the country and now conflict with the 1970 Unesco Convention, which prohibits any export, import, and transfer of ownership of art that is considered cultural property.
This seems to be a last ditch strategy of the outgoing president, Alan Garcia, whose efforts to save the arts could greatly improve the preservation aspect of his political career. Negotiations about the ancient artifacts were already taking place between Swedish and Peruvian officials when Garcia decided to take legal action against the Swedish museum, so the additional legal pressure seems somewhat excessive. The museum had even displayed the mantles under the exhibit title “A Stolen World,” an unusually honest presentation of ancient artifacts, which are often claimed and displayed in museums far from their place of discovery, with no admittance of questionable appropriation techniques. The Mayor of Gothenburg and other officials have agreed to return the Paracas fabric back to its original home, bringing the negotiations to a peaceful conclusion.
Aimi, A. (2011, November 17). Peru requests return of Paracas from Sweden. Retrieved November 21, 2011, from The Art Newspaper: http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Peru-requests-return-of-Paracas-from-Sweden/25099
Mayor of Gothenburg says city will return Paracas textiles to Peru. (n.d.). Retrieved from Andean Air Mail and Peruvian Times: http://www.peruviantimes.com/16/mayor-of-gothenburg-says-city-will-return-paracas-textiles-to-peru/13367/
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (1970, November 14). Retrieved November 21, 2011, from Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property 1970: http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13039&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html