A private collector delivered a Mayan artifact to Guatemala following negotiations after it was planned to auction the piece in 2019.
The artifact depicts the head of an ancient ruler wearing a bird of prey mask.
It disappeared from the Mayan site of Piedras Negras in the 1960s.
The piece reappeared in Paris in 2019 during an auction, but Guatemala objected and presented evidence calling for the artifact to be returned.
The sale was suspended and negotiations took place between the private collector, Manichak Aurance, the French and Guatemalan governments and Unesco.
Ms. Aurance has decided to voluntarily return the fragment – which depicts an ancient ruler who ascended the throne in the year 729 AD – to Guatemala, Unesco said this in a statement.
It was returned during a ceremony in Paris on Monday.
“The voluntary delivery of this fragment of a Mayan stele to its homeland in Guatemala shows the evolution of the international environment in favor of the return of emblematic cultural objects and artifacts to their homelands,” said Audrey Azoulay, director general of the ‘Unesco, in the declaration.
The artifact will soon be sent to the National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology in Guatemala City, where it will be exhibited to the public.
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