{getMailchimp} $title={MailChimp Form} $text={Subscribe to our mailing list to get the new updates.}

Asante gold artefacts: Ghana rejoices as 'crown jewels' looted by British put on display

Looted royal artefacts from the Asante kingdom are finally on display for public viewing at the Manhyia Museum in Kumasi, 150 years after the British took them.

Including a ceremonial cap decorated with gold ornaments known as Mpomponsuo, a sword of state, three cast gold soul-washers’ badges, and a gold peace pipe, these artefacts were taken from the kingdom during the Anlo-Asante wars, including the infamous Sagrenti War of 1874.

The collection also features seven sections of sheet-gold ornament, one silver straining spoon, one pair of silver anklets and one section of sheet-gold ornament.

A gold lute-harp presented by the Asantehene Osei Bonsu to British diplomat Thomas Edward Bowdich during an 1817 trade treaty was also returned.

Fifteen of these artefacts were returned by the British Museum (BM) and 17 from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

Speaking at the homecoming of these looted artefacts, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II indicated that the return of the items is a restoration of the Asante spirit.

“The items that came back are virtually the soul of the people of Asante. Not all of them have returned. But what we have here embodies the soul of Asante. Today is a day for Asantes and for the Black African continent. The spirit that we bore and share is back with us,”he said.

The Manhyia Museum, opened by Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, was originally the first palace built by the British for Asantehene Nana Prempeh I in 1925.

It is to replace the royal palace they destroyed during the Yaa Asantewaa War in 1900.

Closed three weeks ago, the public can now see photographic and regalia displays, lifelike mannequins of the 20th and 21st-century Asantehenes and Asantehemaas, and the chronicles of the Asante kingdom, including their history with the British.

Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK, Dr Tristam Hunt is upbeat about the potency of cultural exchanges.

“We acknowledge the very painful history surrounding the acquisition of these objects. A history tainted by the scars of imperial conflict and colonialism. These treasures have borne witness to triumph and trials of the great kingdom and their return to Kumasi is testament to the power of cultural exchange and reconciliation,”he said.

African countries including Ghana have repeatedly called for the return of looted items with some regaining ownership over precious historical artefacts in recent years.

Chief negotiator, Ivor Agyemang-Duah, revealed negotiations are still ongoing for the return of some hundred looted artefacts in various museums across the globe.

“We’re talking to some individual art collectors and institutions in South Africa, and also a couple of three leading museums and galleries in the UK. We have begun negotiations. I’ll be travelling to meet them for the first formal negotiations,” he revealed.

The items will be on loan for an initial three years and renewable for another three years.

Their return coincides with the silver jubilee of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II since his ascension to the Golden Stool.

No comments

Your comments and Encouragement are welcome