Oba's Beaded Crown

Beaded, veil fringed, canonical crown; seven long beaded tassles dangle from the bottom rim of the crown; entire surface area is embroidered with multi-colored seed beads; three tiers of colorful faces surround the perimeter; a series of three dimensional birds perch on top of the crown; the largest bird sits on tip and is removable.
Artist Unknown, African, Yoruba Peoples Nigeria
1925-1975
Oba’s wear royal crowns on state occasions. Its conical shape emphasizes the Yoruba ruler’s otherworldly presence on earth while subsuming his human identity. A cone—a flattened triangle—acts as a metaphorical device that takes the spirit world of above and channels it downward into the inner space of the ruler’s head. Yoruba philosophy contends that a ruler’s destiny, source or authority, and power all stem from his head. Hence, head beautification and protection are among the most important priorities in Yoruba royal arts.
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis
1997/1.306
Tuesday, May 26, 2020