Spain returns priceless trove of pre-Columbian art to Colombia

This statuette of a Quimbaya cacique (chief, leader), from Colombia is representative of the returned artifacts. Image by Luis García. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

This statuette of a Quimbaya cacique (chief, leader), from Colombia is representative of the returned artifacts. Image by Luis García. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

BOGOTA, Colombia (AFP) – Spain on Monday returned to Colombia a huge and priceless find – almost 700 pieces of pre-Columbian art that Spanish authorities siezed in over a decade ago in a drug bust.

The catalog of museum-worthy artifacts includes vases decorated with human faces, ceramic bowls decorated with geometric designs in ochre tones, musical instruments, necklaces and even small figures of people – dating from 1400 B.C. up to the 16th century.

“Recovering for our nation these 691 archaeological treasures has a value that is really difficult to put any price on. They are from many of our (indigenous) cultures, and getting them home took years,” Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said at a briefing, presenting 50 of the remarkable pieces.

The artifacts – from Calima, Narino, San Agustin, Quimbaya, Sinu and other groups – had been spirited out of Colombia in 2001 before being seized from drug traffickers by Spanish authorities in 2003.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


This statuette of a Quimbaya cacique (chief, leader), from Colombia is representative of the returned artifacts. Image by Luis García. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

This statuette of a Quimbaya cacique (chief, leader), from Colombia is representative of the returned artifacts. Image by Luis García. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.