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British Museums Return Looted Asante Royal Artefacts Under Loan Agreement

The United Kindom has returned 32 royal artefacts that were looted from the Asante Kingdom during the 1874 Sagrenti War.

The items, mostly gold and silver regalia, were returned on Tuesday by the British Museum (BM) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) under a three-year loan agreement, which is renewable for another three years.

“Fifteen (15) gold and silver objects from the British Museum and 17 from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) jointly arrived in the country on April 9, 2024,” a statement released by Mr. Ivor Agyeman-Duah, who is the Chief negotiator, representing the Manhyia Palace confirmed.

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The return of the items to Manhyia Palace followed the final singing of official documentation in London two weeks ago by the directors of the BM and V&A, Sir Mark Jones and Dr. Tristram Hunt, and Agyeman-Duah.

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It also coincides with the silver jubilee anniversary of Asantehene Osei Tutu II, which comes off next month.

As part of that arrangement, the artefacts returned by the British museums and those returned by the Fowler Museum earlier in February will be on display at the Manhyia Palace Museum in May for Otumfuor’s anniversary.

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“The subsequent closure of the Manhyia Palace Museum for three weeks would be for installation works and encasing of over forty returned objects including seven that have already been permanently given by the Fowler Museum of the University of California at Los Angeles. These would collectively constitute the star objects of an international exhibition that would be opened to the public, Homecoming- Adversity and Commemoration,” the Manhyia Palace statement added.

The reopening of the museum after the installation will take place on May 1, 2024, at an official event by the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

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