In a historic ceremony on Thursday, a museum in California returned seven royal artefacts to Ghana’s traditional Ashanti king, marking his silver jubilee and commemorating the first planned handover of Ashanti treasures looted during colonial times.
The event occurred amidst mounting pressure on European and US museums and institutions to repatriate African artefacts stolen during the colonial rule of former powers like Britain, France, Germany, and Belgium.
The Ghanaian royal treasures, originating from the Fowler Museum, included a gold necklace, an ornamental chair, and an elephant tail whisk. They were formally presented during a ceremony attended by chiefs at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, located in the Ashanti region.
Objects of royal Ashanti gold hold significant spiritual value, believed to be imbued with the essence of past rulers.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Ashanti monarch, emphasized that the return of these artefacts would serve to unite his people. Reflecting on their significance, he stated, “What just happened confirms what occurred so many years ago when the British attacked us and looted our treasures. Let’s remain united to bring about peace and development in the kingdom.”
The returned artefacts will be showcased at the Manhyia Palace Museum as part of a year-long celebration.
This move follows recent announcements by prominent institutions like the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, which have agreed to lend gold and silver treasures looted from the Asante kingdom back to Ghana in a six-year deal.