Glass beads used in Sub-Saharan Africa are almost always imported from elsewhere and have been so since ancient times. Among the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria, beaded clothing-and especially beaded headwear-are reserved for the ceremonial dress of the royal court. Conical crowns with long fringes were for kings while the rest of the beaded head gear were used by other dignitaries. Some reflect the influence of western culture and all are covered with tiny seed beads. The bead craftsmen come from the small town of Efon-Alaye and would travel to live as guests of the local king while working on commissioned hats.
This hat is mostly white beads with accents of dark blue. A braided pattern lines the brim, with overlapping circles above it. Four circles surround the knob at the top, which holds two beaded tassels.
Circa: Early 20th Century
Material: Cotton and Glass Beads
Dimensions: 7.5" diameter, 4.5" tall
Inventory number: WR4057