France seizes biggest contraband of Taino artifacts

A Taino cemi or zemi.

Santo Domingo.- The French authorities confiscated a piece of the Taino culture valued as high as one million euros, seized last year together with other archaeological items sent to Paris to be sold by an antiques dealer as modern handicraft.

The Taino artifacts are the highest valued confiscation of items from Dominican Republic, pertaining to the pre-Columbian Caribbean people in recent history.

The piece was dispatched from Dominican Republic on April 3 last year by the exporter Hicotea Club S.A., of Las Galeras, Samaná (northeast), to Simurg Antiquités, in Paris, France, and seized by French Customs in one of four boxes containing 200 objects weighing 50 kilos.

The information is contained in document of the Dominican Foreign Relations Ministry, which explains the procedures followed by the French authorities, from the piece\s confiscation, the evaluation of its authenticity and the report to the Dominican representation before the organization UNESCO, based in Paris.

The report doesn’t specify what object is appraised, but does note that among them are four trigonolites (stone of triangular form with three faces), which can cost as much as 80,000 Euros, a cemí (carved idol, generally stone) as high as 250,000 euros, axes and several Taino sculptures, and a dúho of wood (a ceremonial seat), as high as half a million euros, everything following its state of conservation, among other items.

SOURCE: listin.com.do

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