Belgium returns 1,000-year-old stolen Maya mask to Guatemala

Belgium has returned a 1,000-year-old Maya mask to Guatemala. The Guatemalan Foreign Minister says that the mask had been stolen and illegally exported. An expert from the Royal Museum of Art and History (RMAH) in Brussels says that the mask is “of invaluable worth”. 

The mask was confiscated on 24 October 2008. Almost 12 years later a court ruled that it must be returned to Guatemala, the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry said in a press statement. The archeological treasure is made from precious stone jade. It was made sometime between 600 and 900 AD. 

The mask portrays Chaac, the Maya god of rain, thunder and wind. He is considered to be one of the most important gods in the Maya civilization. 

The mask’s authenticity has been certified by Serge Purini of the Royal Museum of Art and History in Brussels. He describes its worth as being “invaluable”. The mask was handed over to Belgium’s Ambassador in Guatemala on Monday. 

The Maya are a people that live in Southern Mexico and the northern part of Central America. They number between 8 and 9 million people, most of whom live in Southern Mexico or Guatemala. 

 

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