By Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
The overlord of Ashanti, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II says he has brought the spirit and soul of Ashanti back after he received artefacts looted from Kumasi about 150 years ago at the Manhyia Palace.
Seven golden artefacts looted from Kumasi in 1874 found their way to the Fowler Museum in California, United States.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II secured the artefacts after several failed attempts by his predecessors, including Otumfuo Agyemang Prempeh II.
A durbar of chiefs was organised at the Manhyia Palace to outdoor the artefacts and also celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Sagrenti War which took place in 1874.
It is in commemoration of the 25 years of the ascendency of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II onto the Golden Stool.
Professor Kwasi Ampene of the Department of Music at Tufts University in Massachusetts, United States, facilitated the return of the artefacts.
He told the media that the Asantehene is happy at the return of the artefacts, made of pure gold.
“When we came here, Otumfuo, His Royal Majesty said and I quote him. He said that he has been able to return our (Asante) soul to its original place. “
According to Professor Ampene, a member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences who has written and researched extensively on Asante culture and tradition, the items have spiritual relevance to the Asante Kingdom.
“The items are still items that have spiritual relevance to us. They are still active; they would be activated and they would be used.”
They include Asipim chairs made of silver, Sika Amena, necklaces, armbands and anklets –all made of pure gold.
They were being returned from the Fowler Museum at the University of California, United States.
Another set of artefacts is expected from the British Museum in April this year and will be outdoored on May 12, 2024, at the Akwasidae Festival celebrations.
Professor Ampene commended the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II for initiating the return and also empowered him for the project.
“We have to recognise Opemsuo Osei Tutu Ababio for his efforts in this because he was the one who empowered me to facilitate. I didn’t just do it on my own but because he has initiated the whole process of trying to get it back”. He said
The Technical Advisor to the project, Mr. Ivor Agyemang Duah said the objects can be accessed by the general public at the Manhyia Palace Museum once the museum has undergone rehabilitation.