The UK has returned dozens of artefacts looted from what is today Ghana – more than 150 years after they were taken. 

Some 32 gold and silver items have been sent on long-term loan to the country by the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) and the British Museum.

They were stolen from the court of the Asante king, known as the Asantehene, during 19th century conflicts between the British and powerful Asante people. 

The objects are expected to be returned to the current king on Friday.

His chief negotiator, Ivor Agyeman-Duah, told the BBC that the objects are currently in “safe hands” in Ghana ahead of them being formally received. 

They are due to go on display next month at the Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region, as part of celebrations to mark the silver jubilee of the current Asante King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

Among the returned artefacts are a gold peace pipe, a sword of state and gold badges worn by officials charged with cleansing the soul of the king.

The gold artefacts are the ultimate symbol of the Asante royal government and are believed to be invested with the spirits of former Asante kings.

Nana Oforiatta Ayim, special adviser to Ghana’s culture minister, previously told the BBC that the objects were “part of the soul of the nation” and that it was “pieces of ourselves returning”. 

The loan, which was negotiated with the king and not with the Ghanaian government, will last for three years with the option to extend for a further three years.


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