Student Interpretation → Emily Yetzer

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Yoruba Beaded Crowns

Sacred chiefs and religious conjurers wear protective orikogbofo or coronets to protect their heads, the most important part of the body according to the Yoruba. Figurative images can be seen on these crowns suggesting the power they wield from ancestors. The influences from others are noted in the shape of the crown, taking on the style of the Christian bishop's miter.

Beaded Coronet (orikogbofo)

Beaded Coronet (orikogbofo)

Yoruba People
Nigeria
Beaded Coronet (orikogbofo)
20th Century
Imported glass beads, cotton cloth, plant fibers
Gift of Rod McGalliard
2002.39.9

Crowns and coronets are not mere decoration but empower the king or chief as they are packed with spiritual medicines. Motifs and colors offer symbolic protection and identify the attributes of the ruler. This coronet, with predominantly yellow beads, associates the power of the king with that of the deities who have the attributes of calm and rationality, Oduduwa the creator, and Orunmila, who controls fate. The faces are those of the rulers’ divine ancestors.

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