The Learning Gallery Presents; The Yoruba Ade Crown
Among the Yoruba, a tribe located in the Southwestern region of Nigeria, beads were the privilege of rulers and others who held positions of authority. Kings or "Oba's" wore these heavily decorated cone shaped crowns which bore a beaded veil from the rim known as an (ade or adenla). The beaded veil protects subjects and commoners from looking directly in the Obas' face and protects his power. It is the principal symbol of royal authority.
Different color beads represent different Gods the Yoruba tribe pays homage to. For example, white represents Orisha or the supreme being and creator of mankind. Every crown has one or more stylized face and are usually adorned with bird motifs especially at the peak. Birds are thought to have a variety of meanings. One interpretation is the first legendary rulers,Oduduwa, was assisted by a bird to find land for the sacred city of Ife.
Another interpretation is the bird symbolizing the power of women. Often refered to as "Our Mother" , it possesses the hidden procreative power of life. Women giving birth is a form of sacrifice. This helps balance the rule of the male patriarchy. Today there are still a few Yoruba Obas' claiming lineage to the first king Oduduwa. Some crowns are presented to dignitaries as a welcoming gift.