Return of 2 000-year-old textiles strengthens relations between Peru and Sweden

Published 16 January 2018 in:

In December, the City of Gothenburg handed over to Peru 51 well-preserved textiles from the more than 2 000-year-old Paracas textile collection. The textiles, purchased by Sweden’s Honorary Consul in Lima Sven Karell from the Nazca and Paracas cultures, were brought to Sweden in 1935.

“It feels wonderful to return them to Peru,” says Gunilla Bökmark, the City of Gothenburg’s Director of International Relations.

The return of this Peruvian cultural heritage by the City of Gothenburg will help to further strengthen the bilateral relations between Sweden and Peru following the reopening of the Embassy in Lima in 2016. In addition to the handover ceremony at Peru’s Ministry of Culture, several meetings were held during the Swedish delegation’s visit, including with Peru’s former Minister of Culture Salvador del Solar, the mayors of two environmentally friendly municipalities in Lima, and representatives of UNESCO.

Ambassador Anna Ferry, Sweden’s Embassy in Lima, and the delegation from Gothenburg, including Mariya Voyvodova, Deputy Mayor and Chair of the City of Gothenburg’s Cultural Affairs Committee, and Gunilla Bökmark, the City of Gothenburg’s Director of International Relations.

Ambassador Anna Ferry, Sweden’s Embassy in Lima, and the delegation from Gothenburg, including Mariya Voyvodova, Deputy Mayor and Chair of the City of Gothenburg’s Cultural Affairs Committee, and Gunilla Bökmark, the City of Gothenburg’s Director of International Relations.

The City of Gothenburg handed over to Peru 51 well-preserved textiles from the more than 2 000-year-old Paracas textile collection.

The City of Gothenburg handed over to Peru 51 well-preserved textiles from the more than 2 000-year-old Paracas textile collection.

The National Museums of World Culture has had custody of the textiles, which arrived in Sweden in 1935, when they were purchased from the Nazca and Paracas cultures by Sweden’s Honorary Consul in Lima Sven Karell, who then “via an anonymous donation” handed over the pieces to the former Ethnographic Department of the Gothenburg Museum. The Peruvian authorities found out about the collection in 2008, when the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg held the exhibition “Paracas: A Stolen World”. This led to investigations and negotiations between the City of Gothenburg and the Government of Peru, and ultimately resulted in an agreement to hand over the collection in three stages.

The City of Gothenburg handed over to Peru 51 well-preserved textiles from the more than 2 000-year-old Paracas textile collection.

“The Paracas textiles form a very beautiful collection. They came to Gothenburg in a way that would be unacceptable today, so it feels wonderful to return them to Peru,” says Gunilla Bökmark, the City of Gothenburg’s Director of International Relations.

During the Swedish delegation’s visit, meetings were held with Peru’s former Minister of Culture Salvador del Solar, the mayors of two environmentally friendly municipalities in Lima, and representatives of UNESCO.

Signing of the handover agreement. The first handover of four textiles was carried out in 2014. The remaining 35 textiles will be returned in a third and final round in 2021, as Peru celebrates 200 years of independence and Gothenburg celebrates its 400th anniversary.

During the Swedish delegation’s visit, meetings were held with Peru’s former Minister of Culture Salvador del Solar, the mayors of two environmentally friendly municipalities in Lima, and representatives of UNESCO.

During the handover ceremony, all parties showed their sincere gratitude for the constructive spirit that permeated the multi-year process and cooperation between the City of Gothenburg and Peru to realise the return of these ancient and fragile textiles.

During the Swedish delegation’s visit, meetings were held with Peru’s former Minister of Culture Salvador del Solar, the mayors of two environmentally friendly municipalities in Lima, and representatives of UNESCO.

The return of this Peruvian cultural heritage helps to further strengthen the bilateral relations between Sweden and Peru following the opening of the Embassy in Lima in 2016. 

During the Swedish delegation’s visit, meetings were held with Peru’s former Minister of Culture Salvador del Solar, the mayors of two environmentally friendly municipalities in Lima, and representatives of UNESCO.

María Eugenia Chiozza Bruce de de Zela, Head of the Department for European Affairs at the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Javier León Olavarría, Director-General for Cultural Affairs at the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Jorge Arrunategui, Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries at the Peruvian Ministry of Culture; and Ambassador Anna Ferry.

The return of the Paracas collection is considered of national importance, involving the highest-level decision-makers.

Selected pieces of the Paracas collection are on display. Seen here by the display case are: María Eugenia Chiozza Bruce de de Zela, Head of the Department for European Affairs at the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Javier León Olavarría, Director-General for Cultural Affairs at the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Jorge Arrunategui, Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries at the Peruvian Ministry of Culture; and Ambassador Anna Ferry.

 

Ambassador Anna Ferry was interviewed by Peruvian media during the handover.

Ambassador Anna Ferry was interviewed by Peruvian media during the handover. 

The return of the Paracas textiles has considerable political symbolic value for the current government, and several major media were present at the handover ceremony. Two of Peru’s major daily newspapers, Gestión and La República, interviewed Deputy Mayor Mariya Voyvodova. During the week, Deputy Mayor Voyvodova and Ambassador Ferry also took part in a radio programme on Radio Filarmonia to highlight the handover.
Ambassador Javier León Olavarría, Director-General for Cultural Affairs at the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arrunategui, Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries at the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, and Mariya Voyvodova.

Ambassador Javier León Olavarría, Director-General for Cultural Affairs at the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arrunategui, Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries at the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, and Mariya Voyvodova. 

“The Peruvian State will take over responsibility for the textiles following the handover, and I hope this agreement will mark the start of new cooperation between Peru and the City of Gothenburg. Lima and Gothenburg have a lot in common,” says Deputy Mayor Voyvodova.