PARIS (AP) – France and Mexico on Thursday signed a cooperation agreement against the trafficking of cultural objects, an agreement that the Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs has called an important step towards the recovery and protection of Mexican cultural heritage .
Details of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
This came after Mexico filed a complaint with the French government against a large auction of pre-Hispanic sculptures and other Christie’s artifacts from Paris earlier this year. Parisian auction houses often sell Indigenous artifacts that are already on the art market, despite protests from activists who say they should be returned to their home countries.
By signing the cooperation agreement, the French and Mexican foreign ministers acknowledged Thursday that their countries have different laws around cultural objects but promised to work together in the future to fight against the trafficking of works of art. art.
“The recovery and protection of our cultural property is a major issue for us,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. “I am happy that on this occasion France is accompanying us and supporting this initiative despite our very different legal systems. We haven’t always shared the same posture, but this agreement is very positive.
He said the agreement includes mechanisms “to prevent as much as possible the commercialization – which is illegal – of items important to Mexico’s historical and cultural heritage”.
The Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History protested the Christie’s Paris sale earlier this year. The collection included a 1,500-year-old stone mask from the ancient city of Teotihuacan and an ancient statue of the fertility goddess Cihuateotl, apparently from the Totonac culture. The auction grossed over $ 3 million.