- Victoria and Albert Museum wants to repatriate looted gold treasures from the Ashanti Region to Ghana
- The items were looted from the Manhyia Palace and other places in the Ashanti Region during a raid by colonial forces in 1874
- The return of the looted items is expected to put pressure on the British Museum which holds a larger collection of looted Ashanti gold artefacts
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Britain’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), is seriously considering returning gold regalia looted from the people of the Ashanti Region to Ghana.
According to reports, the museum’s director Tristram Hunt wants to loosen regulations on restituting artifacts seized by British forces in the 19th century.
The Art Newspaper reports that the looted gold treasures were seized during a British punitive raid of the Ashanti people in 1874.
Currently, international attention is focused on the recent restitution of Benin bronzes to Nigeria from European and American collections, however, the gold items from the people of the Ashanti Region, are of equal significance.
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The looted gold items include a decorated gold pectoral “soul” disc, shaped like a flower, which would have been worn by priests involved in the ritual purification of the king’s soul. There is also a pear-shaped pendant, either worn or possibly attached to a state sword or stool. The remaining pieces of regalia are of gold.
A return of Ashanti gold treasures to Ghana by the V&A is expected to put pressure on the British Museum, which holds a much larger Asante collection, reports The Art Newspaper.
The British colonials clashed with the people of the Ashanti Region 1872 as they launched a campaign to expand the Gold Coast colony to the north.
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In January 1874 British troops entered Kumasi, capital of Ashanti Region, where Queen Victoria’s forces looted and blew up the palace of the Asantehene, Kofi Karikari.
They then demanded 50,000 ounces of gold, nominally to recover the expenses of the punitive raid. The seizure of the gold regalia stripped the Asante king of his symbols of government.
Tensions continued over many years and further treasures were seized during later military campaigns in 1896 and 1900.
Video Captures Ghanaian Chiefs Giving Away Massive Gold To Queen During Her Visit In 1961
YEN.com.gh has reported in a separate story that following the demise of Queen Elizabeth II, an old video has emerged showing some Ghanaian chiefs giving away massive gold to the monarch during her historic first visit in 1961.
The video captures the chiefs at Cape Coast (where Fante is spoken) lining up in turns to give away the gold gifts to the Queen of England, her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip and their children back in Britain when they visited Cape Coast in 1961.
The British Pathe film, posted on YouTube on April 13, 2014, shows a durbar of chiefs and people held for the Queen and her husband at the former capital of the Gold Coast.
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