1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany returns ancient gold mask to Peru

Louisa Wright with AFP
September 7, 2018

Following a 20-year legal battle, Germany has returned a priceless eighth-century funeral mask to Peru. The mask was confiscated by Interpol in the German town of Wiesbaden in 1999.

A screenshot of the Sican Mask Germany has returned to Peru
Image: Twitter

Germany on Thursday handed back a pre-Columbian gold funeral mask to Peru, the Peruvian Culture Ministry said.

The eighth century Sican mask was handed over to the Peruvian embassy in Berlin by Bavarian authorities.

"I'm happy to receive one of the most emblematic assets from the north Peruvian cultures, the Sican Mask," said the Peruvian Minister of Culture Patricia Balbuena in a statement.

Peru reported the mask as missing in 1999, and it was then confiscated by Interpol in the western German city of Wiesbaden.

The Munich regional court ordered the mask be returned to Peru in December 2016.

Read more: The turbulent history of Klimt's Nazi-seized works

The Sican culture inhabited what is now the north coast of Peru between the eighth and 14th centuries.

The Sican masks have been found in the tombs of people who are thought to have had an elevated position in Sican society.

Peru's neighbor Ecuador saw the return of 13 pre-Columbian artefacts from a private German collection in July, following a six-year legal battle.