In a significant milestone marking Ghana’s cultural heritage, a California museum has handed back seven royal artefacts to the traditional Ashanti king, commemorating his silver jubilee. This symbolic return represents the first planned restitution of Ashanti treasures looted during colonial times and underscores mounting pressure on European and US institutions to address the restitution of African artefacts.
The treasures, including a gold necklace, ornamental chair, and elephant tail whisk, were formally presented during a ceremony at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, Ashanti region, in the presence of chiefs. Ashanti gold objects are revered as vessels containing the spirits of past rulers, adding profound significance to their repatriation.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Ashanti monarch, emphasized the importance of this return in fostering unity among his people and acknowledged its historical context, recalling past British looting. The artefacts will be showcased at the Manhyia Palace Museum as part of a year-long celebration, reinforcing their cultural value and heritage.
This development follows recent pledges by esteemed institutions like the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to lend gold and silver treasures looted from the Asante kingdom back to Ghana under a six-year agreement, signaling a growing momentum towards restitution and reconciliation.