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 Origin of Yorubas 1 / 2 / 3 /



Yoruba Beaded Crown

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Oba M. A. Fakoya Oremadegun of Odogbolu with Regalia and Chiefs
Yoruba Peoples
Photograph by Henry Drewal, 1982
Image No. 1992-028-06220
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
National Museum of African Art

This Yoruba oba (ruler) wears his full court costume and is accompanied by the chiefs who help him govern. Each Yoruba oba rules over a city-state, which is a town or city and its surrounding territories. This oba wears a robe of shimmering fabric and a tall beaded crown with suspended strings of beads that hang down over his face. When an oba appears in public, his face is hidden from view.

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Yoruba Beaded Crown
20th century
Glass beads, cloth, and basketry
H. 20 3/8 in.
North Carolina Museum of Art
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Hanes, 1977 (77.2.10)

Question: Can you think of the reason for this custom?

Answer: Because the face of the oba is hidden from the people by a veil of beads, they think about his position as their ruler rather than about him as an individual.

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