Return of Stolen Artifacts to Ghana’s Asante Kingdom

Seven royal artifacts, looted 150 years ago by British colonial forces from Ghana’s ancient Asante kingdom, have been returned and presented to the kingdom.

The artifacts, which included an elephant tail whisk, an ornamental chair made of wood, leather, and iron, two gold stool ornaments, a gold necklace, and two bracelets, were transferred to the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the 1960s.

The royal items were first received by the kingdom on Monday, marking the 150th anniversary of the British colonial forces’ sacking of the Asante city in 1874. The repatriation of the artifacts to Ghana “signifies the return of our souls,” said Kwasi Ampene, a lecturer who helped negotiate their return.

All seven items are being returned unconditionally and permanently, though the kingdom allowed their replicas to be made. The repatriation of the artifacts to Ghana signifies the return of our souls, and the items are seen as symbols of prestige and reverence for the Asante ruler. Activists argue that thousands more are still out of reach.

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