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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Beaded Works : Yoruba Beaded Ade Oba's Crown
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Yoruba Beaded Ade Oba's Crown - PF.4975
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 29.75" (75.6cm) high x 10" (25.4cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Beads

Location: United States
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The beaded crown of the king is the most important symbol of royal power. This very beautiful Ade (crown) holds within its intricate and colorful beaded work the veritable essence of an Oba, and of the gods (Orisa) for whom the king is the earthly representative. Once the Ade is placed on the royal head, his Ori Inu (inner head) becomes one with all those who have reigned before him, themselves having become gods.

When the time comes to make an Ade, the artists move to the palace where they must work in secret. The beadworkers must first offer a prayer to the god of iron Ogun. They then begin their work, methodically and carefully creating a pattern that refers to the gods in Orun (the other world), and the sacred authority of the king. The lovely birds adorning the bottom, middle and on top refer to the mystical power of women, signifying that the king maintains his rule only if he has the support of Awon Iya Wa, "our mothers," or good witches. A veil of beads serves two primary functions--to hide the king's physical aspect, thus heightening his spiritual presence; and to protect onlookers from the gaze of an Oba who possesses power like a god, here seen in a face shining forth from the brilliant yellow. What we see in this crown is a gorgeous work of art that captivates our eyes with its swirling design, absorbs our senses in rich color, and holds our spirit in its radiant aura.
- (PF.4975)


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