Skip to main content

Crown (adenla)

Artist
Unidentified Yoruba artist
Date
20th century
Material
Glass beads, cotton fabric, rattan
Associated with
Western Africa and the Guinea Coast, Nigeria, Africa
Classification
Costume & clothing, jewelry & personal accessories
Current Location
On View, Gallery 117
Dimensions
34 x 8 3/16 in. (86.4 x 20.8 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Jeffrey and Jackie Hammer
Rights
Public Domain
Object Number
52:2009
NOTES
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 semidivine 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."
Scroll back to top