Peru celebrates return of stolen gold mask found in Germany

September 10, 2018
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The pre-Columbian gold funerary Sican mask, that disappeared in 1999 and was recovered by Interpol in Germany, is displayed at the government Palace in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. Germany returned the mask to Peru following a 20-year legal and diplomatic battle, after Peru had reported the eighth century mask’s disappearance in 1999. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru is celebrating the return of an ancient funeral mask made of gold following a two-decade legal battle to repatriate the smuggled antiquity from Germany.

President Martin Vizcarra on Monday attended a ceremony at the presidential palace where the so-called Sican mask was shown publicly for the first time since its return to the South American nation.

The 8th century mask depicting a pre-Incan deity was seized in 1999 in Germany from a Turkish art dealer arrested for selling looted objects. It was handed over last week to Peru’s embassy in Berlin.

The mask made of hammered gold alloy with silver eyes is one of the most emblematic of 9,000 art objects Peru has repatriated the last decade.

Authorities believe the mask was taken from Peru in the late 1990s.

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