A French court has barred the proposed repatriation of the mummified and tattooed head of a Maori wa
A French court has barred the proposed repatriation of the mummified and tattooed head of a Maori warrior, Agence France-Presse reported. Last year a museum in Rouen, Normandy, where the head had been held since it was donated by a French collector in 1875, decided to return it to New Zealand as an “ethical gesture of respect” for the Maori people. But the French culture ministry intervened, arguing that the relic was part of France’s cultural heritage. On Dec. 27 an administrative court, in effect, blocked the transfer when it ruled that authorities in Rouen had failed to consult a scientific committee before withdrawing the head from the museum’s collection. Before their trade was outlawed, preserved heads of warriors with facial tattoos were popular with 19th-century European collectors.