Fifty Olmeca sculptures exhibited at La Venta Park Museum, Villahermosa, Tabasco, have been totally cleaned up by National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) experts, after 23 of them were vandalized in January 2009.
Restorer Lilia Rivero Webber, head of INAH National Coordination of Cultural Heritage Conservation (CNCPC), informed that along with the integral cleaning, a technical inform regarding conservation state, measurements and physical characteristics of each sculpture was completed.
The second stage cleaning tasks took place during 2 months, after the emergency phase ended in February 2009, when grape juice and oil stains were removed. For a month, the 23 sculptures were monitored, proceeding then to integral cleaning the 50 sculptures of the park.
Rivero Webber informed that using distilled water and a neutral diluted soap, applied with soft bristle brushes, fungus, algae, clay and dirt were removed.
The CNCPC national coordinator recalled that the previous registration of the heap was very simple, and the new technical report allows knowing the sculpture’s profiles as well as determining their deterioration grade. This information integrated a data base that will help taking better conservation decisions in the future.
The 50 sculptures were located in La Venta Archaeological Zone, in Huamanguillo municipality, 128 kilometers away from Villahermosa, considered the most important Olmeca site in Mexico. The Park Museum was created in 1957 by Tabasco poet Carlos Pellicer with the aim of protecting sculptures, and it is administered by Tabasco State Government.
Rivero Webber remarked that La Venta sculptural collection is very important because it represents the main testimony of Olmeca Culture, developed between 600 and 400 BC, and the first monumental sculpture art of Prehispanic Mexico.