The beaded conical crown (adenla)—the symbol of the sacred authority of the Yoruba king (oba)—can only be worn by those who trace their ancestry to Oduduwa, the first ruler of Ile-Ife, the sacred home of all Yoruba people. The four beaded faces symbolize the wearer’s connection to Oduduwa and to the watchful line of royal ancestors who stand behind him. Traditionally, powerful medicinal substances would be placed into the summit of the crown to intensify the oba’s power. A beaded veil, missing from this example, would shield onlookers from the strength of the oba’s gaze. The birds surmounting the top of the crown signify the power of women who supported and sustained the oba’s right to rule. Though the crown’s iconography refers to the first ruler of the Yoruba from centuries past, the tradition of the beaded adenla probably first developed in the early nineteenth century, when larger quantities of European glass seed beads became available.
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"Selected checklist of objects in the collection of African art," Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 58, no. 1/2 (1999): p. 77–83.