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Britain returns looted Ghanaian artifacts after 150 years | Arts and Culture News

Britain returns looted Ghanaian artifacts after 150 years |  Arts and Culture News
Britain returns looted Ghanaian artifacts after 150 years |  Arts and Culture News


These objects were stolen from the court of the Asante king during the Anglo-Asante war in the 19th century.

Britain has returned 32 pieces of treasure stolen from the Asante kingdom more than 150 years ago to modern-day Ghana on a six-year loan, Ghanaian negotiators said.

The artefacts, which comprise 15 items from the British Museum and 17 from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), were looted from the court of the Asante king during violent clashes between the British and Asante tribesmen in the 19th century.

Ghanaian authorities have been trying for years to recover gold treasures looted by British troops from the Asante kingdom, also known as Ashanti.

Under the agreement, artifacts, including gold and silver regalia, associated with the Asante royal palace will be displayed at the Manhia Palace Museum in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region, as part of year-long celebrations to mark the king's silver jubilee.

Chief negotiator Ivor Agyeman-Duah confirmed the return of the items, telling AFP on Saturday that they had been delivered to the palace on loan.

It comes as international momentum and campaigns grow for museums and institutions to return African artifacts from former colonial powers.

Nigeria is also negotiating the return of thousands of 16th- to 18th-century metal artifacts looted from the ancient kingdom of Benin and now held by museums and art collectors across the United States and Europe.

Two years ago, Benin received 24 pieces of treasure and art stolen by French colonial forces during the 1892 sacking of the Royal Palace of Abome.

View of a cast gold badge worn as an insignia of office by the soul-washer of the Asantehene (ruler) in Asante, Ghana, before 1874. [Handout/The Trustees of the British Museum via Reuters]

Agyeman-Duah said the precious artifact, which holds immense cultural and spiritual significance to the Ashanti people, is here as part of a loan agreement for an initial three years, which can be renewed for another three years.

The exhibition will be open from May 1, he said, adding that this is an important moment in our efforts to reclaim and preserve our heritage and foster renewed pride and connection to our rich history.

The returned items also included the 300-year-old Mponponso sword used in the swearing-in ceremony.

Among the 17 items the V&A plans to loan to the Ghana Museum are a peace crown and a gold disc worn by officials responsible for cleansing the king's soul.

The selection of artifacts from the British Museum consists mainly of royal regalia looted from Kumasi Palace during the Anglo-Asante War.

The items are rented under two separate three-year contracts.




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