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Country Summary for BOLIVIA

I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


…Colonial, archaeological, historic and documental treasures, as well as those derived from religious worship, are the cultural treasures of Bolivia….(Constitution of 2004, Art. 191.1)

….let every monument, museum, work and/or piece that has artistic, historic and/or archaeological value, located in the territory of the Republic, be declared a cultural treasure of Bolivia.

'Monuments and artworks' are—
1. Architecture: Cities, urban developments and sets of monuments….public and private museums, prior to 1900.
2. Painted artworks: murals, paintings (boards, canvases, metal plates and glass)…
3. Sculpture in the round, reliefs and altarpieces.
4. Crafts: gold and silverwork….jewelry, prior to 1900.
5. Furniture and accessories prior to 1900.
6. Tapestries, weavings and embroidery (ornaments for sacred worship)…prior to 1900.
7. Porcelain, tiles…and others.
8. Books: manuscripts…incunabula…musical scores and summary musical scores.   

'Monuments and historic pieces'— include any that are linked or related to Bolivian history or leaders:
2. Historic documents and any that bear the signature of Bolivian authorities and national heroes.
3. Presidential sashes, decorations and medals, personal objects….who had exceptional roles in Bolivian history up to 1900.

'Monuments and archaeological pieces'—also include the remains of human activity of scientific or artistic importance from the pre-Columbian period:
1. Monuments, town ruins, temples, fortresses, agricultural terraces…
2. Archaeological sites, dumps or cemeteries….adobe or stone tombs (Chullpares).
3. Archaeological objects: statues, steles, obelisks, sculptures of any material, quality or significance, utensils of stone, wood, bone, and shell.
4. Ceramics for daily use and ceremonies.
5. Weavings, baskets, nets, tapestries, embroidery, featherwork.
6. Metalwork: objects of gold, silver, copper, bronze and other materials. (Supreme Decree No. 05918 of 1961, Art. 1)

Excluded from [the national heritage are] works from abroad brought to Bolivia for a period of less than three years. (Supreme Decree No. 05918 of 1961, Art. 2)

Competent State Agencies

The Bolivian Institute of Culture is commissioned with overseeing and controlling the preservation of the archaeological, historic, artistic and ethnographic heritage of Bolivia, adopting any measures required with the involvement of the Office of the Controller General of the Republic and the Office of the Attorney General, as required. (Law Decree No. 15900 of 1978, Art. 4)


The State will organize a record of artistic, historic, religious and documental treasures, provide for their custody and oversee their preservation. (Constitution of 2004, Art. 191.2)

All the movable property mentioned in Supreme Decree No. 5918 of November 6, 1961, on the artistic heritage, in the possession of individuals or private or special institutions must be registered with the Bolivian Institute of Culture for its respective cataloguing and control of ownership. (Law Decree No. 15900 of 1978, Art. 2)

Any institution, association/corporation and/or individual that owns artworks from the pre-Columbian, Colonial and Republican periods with artistic, historic and/or archaeological value, in Bolivia, such as:
a) Painted artworks: paintings, boards, canvases, metal plates, glass, engravings, drawings and illustrations, reliefs, altarpieces.
b) Crafts: objects of gold and silver, silver, tableware, candelabra, jewelry prior to 1900.
c) Furniture and accessories prior to 1900.
d) Tapestry, weavings…
e) Historic documents…decorations and other.
f)  Archaeology. The remains of human activity of scientific or artistic importance from the pre-Columbian period….
It is required to send a detailed inventory to the Offices where the aforementioned pieces will be registered. (Ministry of Education Resolution No. 1642 of 1961, Art. 1)

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
Viceministerio de Desarollo de las Culturas
Ministerio de Culturas y Turismo
Palacio Chico, Calle Ayacucho esquina Potosi
La Paz, Bolivia
Ph: + 591 2-220-0910/ 220-0949
F: + 591 2-220-0948