So is a 19th century mummified Maori head art or not? A museum in Rouen, France tried to return a Maori head to New Zealand. Guess who stopped them? The French Ministry of Culture! Who are you with? I’m with the Rouen officials who said, as reported in the International Herald Tribune, that:
…the Maori head is a body part, not a work of art, and that according to France’s bioethics law it must be returned to its place of origin. “This object reflects the barbaric trafficking in body parts, the belief that another race was inferior to ours,” said Catherine Morin-Desailly, the deputy mayor for culture and a senator, who proposed the return of the head. “It belongs to the heritage of humanity, not in storage somewhere in a museum.”
The matter is still pending.