Stop the Heritage Drain

Peru: Sweden returns 79 Paracas textiles

Peru’s Culture Ministry has received fifty sets comprising 79 pre-Inca Paracas culture textiles recently repatriated from Sweden, the institution reported. The finely-weaved pieces are part of the second shipping agreed upon by Peru and Sweden in 2014 for the recovery of textiles that entered Gothenburg back in 1935. The ceremony —which featured the symbolic return of five Paracas textiles dating from the 500 B.C.-200 A.D. period— saw the presence of Peruvian Culture Ministry and Swedish Government authorities.  “Thanks to the close collaboration and coordination between the [Peruvian] Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Culture Ministry and the Municipality of Gothenburg, today we celebrate the second arrival —out of three planned deliveries— consisting of 79 textile pieces,” Peru’s Deputy Cultural Heritage and Industries Minister Jorge Arrunategui said.   The batch includes mantles, uncus (tunics), cloths, shawls, among others from Paracas culture, characterized by their unique value, composition, colors, and weaving techniques using cotton and vicuña wool.  The recovered goods will be kept by the Ministry of Culture’s General Directorate of Museums for their conservation and subsequent display in 2018. Sweden is due to return an additional 60 textiles by 2021 in accordance with the agreement signed by both parties.

The aforementioned textiles were part of pre-Hispanic Nazca and Paracas cultures’ pieces acquired in 1935 by Sven Karell, then Swedish Consul to Lima. The textiles then entered Sweden as an anonymous donation to the Gothenburg Ethnographic Museum.   In 2008, the fabrics were featured in the Gothenburg World Culture Museum’s “Paracas: A Stolen World” exhibition, thus prompting the Inca country to start investigations. The recovery process began in 2013.  As a result, the Peruvian and Swedish Governments signed an agreement in 2014 for the return of 89 sets of Paracas textiles, the first four of which were returned that same year.


Pasquale Barile

Pasquale Barile, freelance egyptologist and writer, deals with ancient languages and genesis of civilization. Founder and President of the Ancient World Society and HistoryLab, conducts an intensive research, divulging and teaching activity in history. He is a member of the EES (Egypt Exploration Society) and SE (Société d'Égyptologie). He lives in Bologna, Italy.

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