Guinea Coast, Nigeria, Yoruba, 20th century
cloth, glass beads, basketry, cardboard, wood, feather quills, Diameter: 26.8 cm (10 1/2 in.); Overall: 105.9 cm (41 11/16 in.); Cone: 35.1 cm (13 13/16 in.); Fringe: 55.3 cm (21 3/4 in.). Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1995.22
The most important of all regalia, topped with the "royal bird" Okin, this headdress connects the king to Oduduwa, the mythical founder of the Yoruba. The veil of beaded strings masks the identity of the wearer and protects his subjects from the supernatural powers that radiate from his face. The crown also signifies the "inner head" of the king, the locus of an awesome life force called ase.
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