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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.