Austria, Mexico edge towards deal on Montezuma's headdress

VIENNA- Austria and Mexico could be inching closer to a deal over the ownership of the Penacho de Montezuma, a pre-Columbian headdress currently on display in Vienna, officials suggested Sunday.
The head of Austria's Kunsthistorisches Museum, Sabine Haag, told Oe1 public radio that "talks have been resumed regarding a temporary loan" of the headdress back to Mexico.
Nevertheless, "the Mexican government has not formally requested it be returned. That's never been an issue," Haag insisted.

Penacho de Montezuma
Penacho de Montezuma
The Penacho is a headdress of quetzal feathers and gems, part of a collection of 158 items emperor Montezuma in 1519 gave to Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortes, who gave them to Spanish Emperor Carlos V.
The Penacho, which wound up in the hands of Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol in 1590 in Vienna, has become a symbol of the struggle over Mexico's artifacts in foreign museums.
Indigenous Mexicans have repeatedly demanded the return of the "sacred crown of Montezuma."
"We are aware of the deep symbolic and spiritual importance of the Penacho for Mexico's indigenous peoples," Haag said.
"We are in the process of identifying the necessary conservation measures which will enable it to be preserved and displayed as the cultural heritage of both Austria and Mexico."

Monday, January 17th 2011

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