X96.3.2a White beaded crown

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White beaded crown
Yoruba peoples
Glass beads, thread, cloth, plant fiber
H: 73.5 cm, Diam: 22.5 cm (H: 28.9 in, Diam: 8.8 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Museum Purchase. X96.3.2a


This brilliantly white crown with birds gathered about the cylindrical form was probably used on special ceremonial occasions, those in honor of the orisa funfun, the cool, composed, and patient ones like Obatala, Orisanla, or Oduduwa/Odua. It may have been used by a priest or a ruler. To bathe one’s physical and spiritual head in beaded whiteness in to radiate extraordinary calmness, control, balance, and soulful centeredness. It expresses the moment when the present unities with the past, when a priest/ruler unites with divinity. The veil conceals the identity of the person and reveals the identity of the person and reveals the materiality of spirit.

Source: Drewal, H., Mason, J. (1998). “Beads, Body, and Soul – Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 206