The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has engaged in discussions with the British Museum regarding the return of precious gold items currently in their possession.
The visit to the United Kingdom by the Asantehene was in honor of the coronation of King Charles III, and it marked the first-ever meeting between the Asantehene and the museum’s director, Dr. Fischer, on Thursday, May 11, 2023, according to a BBC report.
The British Museum possesses a significant collection of artifacts, including several works taken from the Asante palace in Kumasi during the 1874 war with the British.
Recognizing the historical and cultural importance of these items to the Asante people, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II expressed his desire to secure such items belonging to his ancestors.
Confirming the discussions, a spokesperson for the British Museum informed the BBC that they are currently exploring the possibility of lending items from their collection to Ghana.
“The museum’s director and deputy director were pleased to welcome His Royal Majesty Osei Tutu II, also known as the Asantehene, during his visit to the UK for King Charles III’s coronation.
“The British Museum is exploring the possibility of lending items from the collection to mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the third Anglo-Asante war, as well as to support celebrations for the Asantehene’s Silver Jubilee next year,” she told the BBC.
The potential return of these gold items from the British Museum’s collection represents a significant step toward rectifying historical injustices and fostering cultural dialogue between Ghana and the United Kingdom. It reflects a growing global movement to address the repatriation of cultural artifacts acquired during the colonial era.
In the 19th Century, the Asante state was one of the few African states that offered serious resistance to European colonizers.
However, its independence ended in 1874 when a British expeditionary force marched into Kumasi in retaliation for an Asante attack two years earlier.