Photo: "Serpent Head"
The Mexican government announced the recovery of three “unique and irreplaceable” archaeological items that it had requested from the museum at the University of Miami because they had been “illicitly removed” from Mexico.
Among the pieces were “Serpent Head,” a basalt sculpture attributed to the 900 A.D.-1200 A.D. period of the Mesoamerican Central Highlands cultural region, and which measures 39.3 by 85 centimeters (15 by 34 inches).
Also recovered was “Tlaloc, the Rain God” carved between 200 A.D. and 900 A.D of basalt, and measuring 71 by 40.6 centimeters (28 by 16 inches).
The third work is known as “Noble or Priest,” created between the years 200 B.C. and 600 A.D., a stele made of basalt rock from the Gulf of Mexico coast, measuring 1.46 meters (4 feet 9 inches) high.
Research shows “that these items are linked to the illegal, unscrupulous operations of Leonardo Augustus Patterson,” Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a communique.
Patterson is currently in custody in Spain on charges of trafficking in antiquities, he said.
The statement added that the return of the works was effected on Aug. 15 with the cooperation of UM’s Lowe Art Museum, “which in a constructive spirit allowed indications to be substantiated that the items had been taken illegally” from Mexico.
Following the return of the archaeological pieces, Mexico thanked the museum.