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Auction of Hopi masks draws fire

PARIS — An auction of sacred Hopi Indian masks went forward Friday in Paris and generated more than $1 million in sales despite the presence of protesters inside and outside the auction house who urged patrons not to take part.

One item, a headdress known as the Crow Mother, drew intense interest. Bidding on the artifact, which had a high estimate of $80,000, soared to $210,000, drawing applause from a crowd of some 200 in the sales room and protest from a woman who shouted: ‘‘Don’t purchase that. It is a sacred being.’’

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The sale of Native American artifacts generated $1.2 million, including the buyer’s premium, according to the auction house, Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou. That is roughly what the auction house had estimated the sale would bring before the Hopi Tribe lodged its complaints and the auction became the subject of international focus and diplomatic talks between US and French officials.

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