Ade Oba (King’s Crown)


By: Adenike Cosgrove Tagged:


It is believed amongst the Yoruba that the ruling leader, the Oba (king), provides a link between his people, the ancestors and the gods. The Yoruba also believe that an individual’s character, behaviour and ultimate life destiny are pre-defined at birth by the individual’s inner head (ori inu). Once an Oba places his crown (called 'ade oba') on his head, his ori inu is connected directly with his ancestors; the ade oba is a sign of this connection with the ancestors. The crown is also a symbol of the Oba’s power and command over his people.

The adenla cone-shaped crown, is used by the Oba during important occasions such as during the Oba’s enthronement or at public appearances at annual festivals.

Distinguishing Features

Common features among all ade oba crowns:

    • Made of tiny multi-coloured glass beads

Sub-type variations (Adenla ade oba):

    • Cone-shaped stiffened cloth
    • Always topped by a bird or cluster of birds (signify the inner power of women and their support towards the Oba’s success. Also believed to represent 'okin' the royal bird)
    • Some crowns enhanced with several additional bird motifs
    • Beaded veil ('iboju' used to prevent the villagers from looking directly at the Oba’s face)
    • At least one stylised frontal face in relief (serves as the king’s official face. Represents ancestors; in some cases believed to be Oduduwa, the Yoruba founding father)

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