Peruvian President Alan Garcia said that his country intends to sue the Swedish city of Gothenburg on charges of being accomplices in the theft of ancient pre-Columbian textiles more than 2,000 years old. The colourful Paracas culture textiles are currently on exhibit in the city-owned Museum of World Culture. The Paracas culture flourished on Peru's southern coast from around 100 BC to 200 AD, but little was known about their people until archaeological excavations starting in the 1920s.
According to the Gothenburg museum website, "large quantities of Paracas textiles were smuggled out of Peru and illegally exported to museums and private collections all over the world around 1930. About a hundred of them were smuggled to Sweden and donated to the Ethnographic Department of Göteborg Museum." The town possesses 89 of the textiles, displayed since 2008, according to the website. In May 2010, Sweden returned 33 pre-Columbian textile fragments to Peru, the Latin American country most affected by theft of archaeological artifacts.
"We have the right to pursue legal action at the international level, through Interpol, and to seek the arrest of those who are accomplices in the pillaging of a civilization," Garcia said.
AFP: 'Peru to sue Swedish city for theft of ancient textiles', 05 July 2011
Photo: Hummingbird tunic with fringes from The Paracas Collection [Credit: Paracas Foundation/Göteborg]