16:42 | Berlin (Germany), Sep. 6.
Peru has finally reclaimed its Sican Mask —an emblematic piece of the Lambayeque (Sican) Culture— after 19 years of judicial proceedings.
The artifact was seized by the Interpol office in Wiesbaden (Germany) in 1999 after being illegally taken out of the Inca nation.
Balbuena also thanked "the Bavarian (State) Office of Criminal Investigation —which guarded the cultural good— and all authorities, as well as our Foreign Affairs Ministry, which took part in this long journey that came to an end today with the delivery of Sican Mask."
Neither the Sican Mask nor a replica with similar features was authorized to leave the country or be exported back in 1999.
A judicial procedure was brought before the Regional Court of Munich right after the seizure.
The sentence was issued by the Court's Sixth Civil Chamber, which ordered the mask's release and authorized its delivery to the Peruvian State.
Made of hammered sheet gold alloy, the mask represents Naylamp —a mythological character and founder of the Lambayeque civilization's sovereign dynasty.
It was discovered in 1991 and meticulously studied by Japanese archaeologist Izumi Shimada.