Nearly 500 ancient looted artifacts that had been missing for centuries have finally been returned to Peru's Cultural Ministry after they were recovered from locations in Argentina, Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Many of the cultural treasures – made of ceramics, textiles, stone and wood – date back to before the era of Spanish colonization and originate from ancient Indigenous groups such as the Lambayeque, Sican, Sipan, Chimu, Chancay, Nasca and Inca.
Cultural Minister Alejandro Neyra said the majority of the artifacts had been stolen and smuggled across the borders. Among the recovered items are two paintings from a series entitled 'The Creation of the World and the Universal Deluge': 'The Sacrifice of Cain and Abel' and 'The Universal Deluge.'
The paintingd were originally looted from the town of Hualahoyo, Junin, but were later sent to the New York Consulate of Peru by their new owner, Tracey Willfong, who had planned to auction them.
Neyra said: "The pieces were analyzed in detail to know their current condition; to know if they need additional restoration in order to be part of the collections of the Ministry of Culture, to be sent on large exhibitions abroad, or have them in the future museum of the nation which is to be built in Pachacamac."
Possible designs for the new museum will be presented in May, with construction due to begin sometime this year in honor of Peru's bicentennial anniversary, the minister said.