US Embassy seeks delay of auction of Native American sacred tribal masks

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The American Embassy in Paris is asking a French auction house to delay the planned sale of sacred objects from two Native American tribes.

Saturday's request to the Eve auction house comes a day after a French judge ruled that the sale of 32 Hopi masks can go ahead starting Monday.

The Hopi tribe opposes the use as commercial art of sacred masks that represent their ancestor's spirits, and has sought to block the sale that also includes and other Native American frescoes and dolls.

In a statement, the embassy said the sale shouldn't go through without consultation with the Hopi and San Carlos Apache tribes. Calls to the auction house Saturday were not immediately returned.

In April, then-Ambassador Charles Rivkin expressed sadness about a similar mask auction in Paris.