A woman posed with a turquoise mosaic and wood mask from Mexico at the launch of the “Montezuma: Aztec Ruler” exhibit at the British Museum in London Tuesday. (Luke MacGregor/Reuters)The initial reaction to archeological objects such as this mask is that they are "bizarre." But if one looks beyond the unfamiliarity, one can't help but be impressed by the intrinsic artistic talent involved. That's why it's so unutterably sad that when the conquistadors conquered Central and South America they appropriated so much gold artwork to be brought back to Spain and melted down. That of couse has happened in every conquest, from the Mongols to the Spartans to the Vikings. It's so sad when ancient artwork is lost.