Yoruba artist
Conical Crown (ade), 20th century
Cotton, glass beads
19 × 8 in. (48.3 × 20.3 cm.)
Museum purchase  2010.1.1

Fit for a King
Faces and birds decorate this beaded crown. Yoruba kings wear cone-shaped crowns called ade as emblems of their office and as symbols of divine kingship. The faces may represent Oduduwa, the creator god and the first Yoruba king, or the wearer’s royal ancestors. Birds on top of the crown symbolize “our mothers:” witches, female ancestors, or village elders and the mysterious, reproductive power they embody. Art made by the Yoruba people forms the core of the Speed’s African collection.