Yoruba Adornment Belt (Nigeria)
Beads and royalty are closely linked in Africa. For centuries, African rulers accumulated valuable, locally made and imported beads. They also controlled their distribution and use. The ownership of large quantities of beads, the variety of exquisite beaded clothing and regalia, and the right to display colorful beaded designs distinguish rulers from the rest of the populace. During public ceremonies, kings wear spectacular arrays of beadwork. They dazzle their subjects with the splendid colors and the unique designs of their royal costumes and regalia.
In West and Central Africa, kings bring to their courts male artists who create masterpieces of beaded clothing, adornment, and bead embroidered regalia. Artists often vary the shapes of objects, apply different beaded designs, and follow different color schemes. The selected works of art discussed in the following pages exemplify particular types of objects among the many commissioned and used by royalty.L: 130cm x W: 35cm