Beaded, veil fringed, canonical crown; seven long beaded tassles dangle from the bottom rim of the crown; entire surface area is embroidered with multi-colored seed beads; three tiers of colorful faces surround the perimeter; a series of three dimensional birds perch on top of the crown; the largest bird sits on tip and is removable.
Oba’s wear royal crowns on state occasions. Its conical shape emphasizes the Yoruba ruler’s otherworldly presence on earth while subsuming his human identity. A cone—a flattened triangle—acts as a metaphorical device that takes the spirit world of above and channels it downward into the inner space of the ruler’s head. Yoruba philosophy contends that a ruler’s destiny, source or authority, and power all stem from his head. Hence, head beautification and protection are among the most important priorities in Yoruba royal arts.
Cast brass head of a human. An opening at the top would have supported a carved elephant tusk. The heads wears elaborate "winged" headgear.
Commemorative heads wear used in royal shrines in the Benin kingdom. Kings were honored and cared for after death, with their shrine as the focal point of supplication. The head is particularly important in Benin spirituality, as the head holds the fate of the individual. The king's head, however, holds the fate of the whole kingdom, and so must be properly cared for.