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 orikogbofo (sometimes called ojewe meaning 'head must not be bare') cap-shaped crown, is used by the Oba for everyday activities and duties such as judging disputes between villagers or deciding punishments for criminals (these ‘crowns’ are sometimes also worn by high ranking chiefs). The crown reminds villagers that the head of the Oba is sacred at all times.

Distinguishing Features

Common features among all ade oba crowns:

    • Made of tiny multi-coloured glass beads

Sub-type variations (Orikogbofo ade oba):

    • Orikogbofo crowns reflect the personal taste of an Oba (signifying wealth)
    • Small central projection (marking position of magic medicines protecting the Oba’s ori inu)
    • Orikogbofo crowns do not usually feature a beaded veil

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