THE return of the Dama de Elche to the city where the Iberian sculpture was found is unlikely.
“There is no decision, intention, budget allocation or future plan that could diminish the role of national museums or affect the integrity of their collections,” declared Ministry sources quoted in the local Spanish press.
The unequivocal statement followed the controversial resignation last week of the Ministry’s Fine Arts director general, Lola Jimenez-Blanco.
This was attributed at the time to her point-blank refusal to reconsider moving the Dama and other archaeological treasures back to the regions where they were discovered.
There was no connection with Jimenez-Blanco’s departure from the Ministry, insisted the same sources ,who maintained that she wished to return to Madrid’s Complutense University where she lectures in History of Art.
The Dama de Elche, dating from the Fifth or Fourth century BC left La Alcudia (Elche) almost soon after it was discovered by chance in 1897.
Although the bust returned briefly for the inauguration of Elche’s Archaeological Museum and despite the city’s repeated requests, the Ministry’s recent statements suggest that the Dama will remain in Madrid for the foreseeable future.