The sale, which totalled was almost £640 000, was challenged by US government officials. However, Drouot went ahead with the sale as they said it did comply with French law.


Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim said of the masks they are "living and breathing beings" and therefore should not be sold as lots.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 15.17.04 Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim

Hopi Kachina dolls were also sold in the sale which caused the US embassy in Paris to demand a suspension on the sale in order to conclude if the items had been stolen from the Navajo and Hopi tribes.

In a somewhat happy ending, the tribe managed to purchase back the masks for nearly £6 000.