STORY: This Mayan frieze is being restored
after it was looted and cut up in the 1960s
LOCATION: Mexico City
The artwork dates from 450-600 A.C.
It depicts a governor flanked by two elders
who award him with power of water or fertility symbols
(Sergio Gonzalez, Restorer at the National Institute of Anthropology and History):
"It is believed, since we still don't know for sure, that the frieze comes from a place called 'Placeres' (Pleasures). It used to be a chewing gum camp and it was looted by an international band of artwork traffickers. They wrapped it in boxes and moved it to New York through Miami by plane. It was then offered to the New York Metropolitan Museum. The museum's director didn't want to purchase it, and he reported it to the Mexican authorities. That way the piece could be retrieved and returned."