A California museum returned seven royal artefacts to Ghana’s traditional Ashanti king to commemorate his silver jubilee in the first planned handovers of Ashanti treasures looted during colonial times.
Ghana's royal treasures from the Fowler Museum include a gold necklace, an ornamental chair and an elephant tail whisk.
They were presented during a ceremony of chiefs at the Manhyia Palace in the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti region.
Royal Ashanti gold objects are believed to be invested with the spirits of former rulers.
The Ashanti monarch Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who holds an important ceremonial role in Ghana, said their return would help unite his people.
"What just happened confirms what occurred so many years ago when the British attacked us and looted our treasures," he said. "Let’s remain united to bring about peace and development in the kingdom."
Ivor Agyeman Duah, an advisor to the king, said the objects were sacred.
"Their homecoming signifies a pivotal moment of reconciliation and pride for our kingdom," Duah told the AFP.
The ceremony was held close to the 150th anniversary of the 1874 Anglo-Asante war, gathering traditional leaders, politicians and diplomats, most adorned in red and black to symbolise mourning.
The returned items have been part of the Fowler Museum's collection since 1965, part of the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).
The Manhyia Palace Museum will hold a year-long celebration throughout 2024.
Traces of colonial looting