US repatriates looted, 'most sought' ancient Olmec sculpture to Mexico
The stone relic, which stands about six feet tall and weighs more than 2,000 pounds, is most likely from the Middle Preclassic Period.
Mexico has recently repatriated a 2,500-year-old pre-Columbian sculpture known as the “Earth Monster” or “Monster of the Earth” from the US, as per AP.
The stone relic, which stands about six feet tall and weighs more than 2,000 pounds, is most likely from the Middle Preclassic Period, which lasted from 800-400 BCE. The monument was looted in the 1960s from Chalcatzingo in central Mexico.
The Mexican National Anthropology and History Institute (INAH) stated last month that the statue was recovered by Mexican officials after it was confiscated by the Manhattan District Attorney's Antiquities Trafficking Unit.
In April, ARTnews reported that Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, affirmed in a Twitter post that “the Olmec piece most sought after by Mexico has been recovered and is about to return to its home, from where it should never have been stolen.”
📌#SabíasQue | Conoce más del «Monstruo de la Tierra» o «Portal del Inframundo», el monumento 9 olmeca que representa el rostro de un jaguar con nariz de serpiente y que fue recuperado por @SRE_mx en EE. UU., con la gestión de nuestros consulados.— Relaciones Exteriores (@SRE_mx) May 19, 2023
Ebrard delivered the large antique artwork to the Mexican embassy in Denver, Colorado, last Friday, AP reported.
The statue is said to symbolize the Earth Monster, a theme that appears frequently in Olmec civilization artifacts. The work's gaping mouth is intended to depict the entrance to the underworld. A branch of the bromeliad plant, a native plant of Chalcatzingo, may be found in the corners of the square-shaped hole that depicts a mouth.
Ebrard likened the absence of the artwork from Mexico to "living with an open wound."