Crown (Primary Title)
Royal Beaded Crown (Alternate Title)

Unknown (Artist)

19th–20th century
glass beads, cloth, string
Nigeria, Republic of Benin
Overall: 19 × 6 3/4 in. (48.26 × 17.15 cm)

The àse (pronounced: ah shay), or power and authority of a Yoruba crown is so awe-inspiring that the crown itself is the subject of elaborate rituals and protocol. It is made in secret, and before it can be worn, herbal medicines are packed inside. When a king wears a beaded crown, his inner being is said to unite with those who have reigned before him.

Most traditional crowns are cone-shaped and usually have at least one of three important beaded elements: faces, birds, or veils. While the beaded cone-shaped and veiled crowns are reserved for the stateliest, most important functions, other royal crowns and beaded headgear are worn on less formal occasions (see adjacent crowns).

Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
"Spirit of the Motherland." Roanoke: Museum of Western Virginia. September 1995- January 1996. Newport News: Peninsula Fine Arts Center. January- May 1996.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.