The Fowler Museum in Los Angeles California has permanently handed over objects looted from Asanhene’s Palace in 1874 back to the Asante Kingdom.
The chiefs and people of Asante Kingdom on February 8, gathered at the Dwabrem in Manhyia Palace in Kumasi for a grand durbar to welcome back home, some of the looted artifacts 150 years ago.
After 150 years, 39 of the Asante royal regalia and objects looted by British troops during Sagrenti War, are returning to the Asantehene in Kumasi.
A black necklace made of gold, a royal gold crown and stool looted in 1874 by the British army ended up in the Fowler Museum, California, USA.
The first batch of seven treasures from the Fowler Museum of the University of California in Los Angeles is already in Kumasi and was handed over to Asanteman at the grand durbar of chiefs at the Manhyia Palace on Thursday.
The second batch of 32 will arrive from two leading cultural institutions in the United Kingdom – the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum – in April.
They are also expected to be received at an official durbar of chiefs in May 2024.
The collections, which range from the original sacred Mponponsuo state sword dating back to 300 years to other ornaments of silver and gold, come under two separate agreements.
The Mponponsuo sword is what all Asantehenes traditionally swore their oath of office and paramount chiefs their allegiance to the Asantehene.
Dubbed “Kuntunkuni Durbar”, it started with a display by traditional priests at the Manhyia Palace as part of the 150th anniversary.
On this day, with the exception of Tepamanhene, all other paramount chiefs in Asante Kingdom wore a black regalia.
The Asantehene’s regalia on the day is unique and it is a symbol of ‘ens3 me nhwe’ to wit ‘ don’t dare me.
He chose this occasion to wear the regalia to reflect events of January and February of 1874 when the Asante army clashed with the British for supremacy.
By Benjamin Aidoo