ASANTE GOLD: UK TO LOAN BACK GHANA’S LOOTED ‘CROWN JEWELS’
The UK is sending some of Ghana’s “crown jewels” back home, 150 years after looting them from the court of the Asante king.
A gold peace pipe is among 32 items returning under long-term loan deals, the BBC can reveal.
The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) is lending 17 pieces and 15 are from the British Museum.
Ghana’s chief negotiator said he hoped for “a new sense of cultural co-operation” after generations of anger.
Some national museums in the UK – including the V&A and the British Museum – are banned by law from permanently giving back contested items in their collections, and loan deals such as this are seen as a way to allow objects to return to their countries of origin.
But some countries laying claim to disputed artefacts fear that loans may be used to imply they accept the UK’s ownership.
Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, told the BBC that the gold items of court regalia are the equivalent of “our Crown Jewels”.
The items to be loaned, most of which were taken during 19th-Century wars between the British and the Asante, include a sword of state and gold badges worn by officials charged with cleansing the soul of the king. [BBC]