It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious
(Henry David Thoreau)
Published on 19 May 2010
ICOM is the international organisation of museums and museum professionals which is committed to the conservation, continuation and communication to society of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible. In Latin America, looting of archaeological sites and thefts from museums and religious edifices are inflicting irreparable damage on the heritage of the continent and of mankind as a whole. Objects are being wantonly removed from their historical context to satisfy the growing international demand for antiquities.
Aztec jade mask
Faced with an emergency situation, the international community of heritage professionals has drawn up a Red List of Latin-American Cultural Objects at Risk to help put a stop to the illicit trade in cultural property. This list contains 25 examples of specific pre-Columbian and Colonial heritage categories which are systematically looted throughout Latin America and are in great demand on the illegal antiquities market.
Moche Stirrup and Spout Portrait Bottle
All the categories of object in the Red List are protected by legislation and banned from export, and may under no circumstances be imported or put on sale. The Red List is an appeal to museums, auction houses, art dealers and collectors not to acquire these objects. The Red List is also designed to help customs officials, police officers and art dealers to identify them.
This is a list of the types of object from Latin America which are particularly at risk and most likely to be stolen. It is in no way exhaustive. Because of the tremendous variety of objects, styles, and periods, any antiquity from Latin America should be viewed with suspicion.
Vera Cruz Ceramic Figure
Maya Polychrome Vessels
Urns from the Amazon River Region
Moche Vessels (Peru)
Nayarit Figures (Mexico)
Jama Coaque Figures and Vessels (Ecuador)
Teotihuacan Masks (Mexico)
San Agustin Statues (Colombia)
Hacha [axe] Pendants
Olmec Figurines (México)
Carved Oars (Peru)
Nasca, Chimu and Wari Feather Weavings (Peru)
Paracas,Wari, Chimu and Chancay Textiles (Peru)
Colonial Religious Sculptures
Ivory Christ (Mexico)
Corn-Stem Paste Figures (México)
Mexican and Guatemalan Paintings
Cuzco and Quito Paintings
Liturgical Silver Objects
For details of each item according to category go to the Red List of Latin-American Cultural Objects at Risk at the ICOM site...
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