A U.S. museum has returned a batch of royal regalia to Ghana that was looted by British colonial troopers 150 years in the past, marking the primary main return of stolen artefacts to the West African nation.
The Fowler Museum on the College of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) mentioned the gadgets, all royal objects from the Asante kingdom, had been bought by an American collector and donated to the museum after his demise.
Representatives of the museum handed them over to the Asante king, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, within the metropolis of Kumasi on Thursday.
The transfer comes amid rising demand for the repatriation of priceless objects appropriated in colonial instances. Nigeria and Ethiopia are amongst quite a lot of nations looking for repatriation.
Nevertheless, some museums say they’re banned by regulation from completely returning contested gadgets of their collections.
London’s British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum mentioned final month that they might mortgage 32 objects taken through the Anglo-Asante wars to the Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi.
The gadgets returned by the Fowler Museum embrace an elephant tail whisk, two royal stool ornaments, a royal necklace, two strands of beads and a decorative chair.
4 of them had been taking through the 1874 sacking of Kumasi, and three had been a part of an indemnity cost later made by the Asante kingdom to the British, the museum mentioned.
“These are objects that join the current to the previous… the very essence of a civilization,” Ivor Agyemang Duah, director of the Asante royal museum, informed Reuters.
The Fowler Museum mentioned the return was everlasting and voluntary, because it shifts towards the thought of museums as custodians “with moral accountability in the direction of the communities of origin.”
A historian on the College of Ghana, Kwaku Darko Ankrah, mentioned the return was essential for Ghana however expressed hope that it will additionally set off a dialog about how the Asantes got here by the gadgets.
“Looting was additionally one main trait of the Asantes on the top of their supremacy and there’s historic proof of issues they looted from different tribes they fought (throughout Ghana),” he mentioned.
Ankrah desires returned gadgets to be recognized and the unique house owners discovered.
“They (the unique house owners) even have equitable rights to these gadgets. If they aren’t identifiable however the Asantes agree they’re looted treasures, then the artefacts ought to develop into nationwide treasures of Ghana,” he mentioned.
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