The king of Ghana’s traditional Asante kingdom – known as the Asantehene – has received seven royal artefacts that were looted from the kingdom nearly 150 years ago.
The items were were repatriated from the Fowler Museum, based at the University of California in the US, and handed over to King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II during a ceremony on Thursday.
They include a gold necklace, an ornamental chair, two gold stool ornaments and two bracelets.
An elephant tail whisk, which is “a ceremonial piece that is held by someone of incredibly high status” was also returned, Erica P Jones, the senior curator of African arts at Fowler Museum told Art Magazine.
The items have been hosted at Fowler Museum since 1965, but were looted by British forces from the Asantehene’s Manhyia Palace in the city of Kumasi, southern Ghana, in 1874.
The return of the items comes less than two weeks after the UK’s British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum loaned back 32 items that had been looted from the kingdom, mostly in the 19th Century.r
The items including a royal stool belonging to Asantehene Kofi Karikari, the 10th Asantehene, were formally presented before Otumfuo and Asanteman during the Kuntunkuni Durbar on February 8, 2024, which marks the commemoration of the Sagrenti War of 1874.
They were presented by leadership of the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles including Dr Silvia Forni, the Director of Fowler Museum, Dr Erica Jones, the Senior Curator of African Arts and Manager of Curatorial Affairs and Dr Richel Raynor, Director of Registration and Collections Management.
The delegation from the United States of America (USA) was led by Ghanaian historian and museum economist, Ivor Agyeman- Duah as well as the Chair of the Department of Music at Tufts University and a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Prof Kwesi Ampene.