Title: Beaded Crown (adenla)
Date: 19th century
Artist: Unidentified Yoruba artist
Medium: glass beads, cotton fabric, and rattan
34 x 8 3/16 in. (86.4 x 20.8 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Jeffrey and Jackie Hammer
Object Number: 52:2009
Place associated: southwestern Nigeria
Current Location: On View, Gallery 117
Lavish glass beading on this crown emphasizes the wealth and power of a Yoruba "oba" (king). Glass beads, imported from eastern Europe and northern Italy via transatlantic trade, became an important signifier of wealth. This crown’s veil concealed the face of the "oba;" the luxury of bountifully beaded ornamentation further underscored the separation between a semi-divine king and his constituency. The crown’s principal conical shape highlights the significance of an "oba’s ori inu," the “inner head,” which in Yoruba belief holds one’s character, intellect, destiny, and spiritual essence. The "ori inu" takes precedent over the "ori ode," one’s physical “outer head.”
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