About This Artwork

Yoruba
Odo-Ona Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria
Owned by Oba (King) Dele Adeshina of Odo-Ona Ilorin

Royal Tunic, Early/mid-20th century

Glass beads, cloth, and string

Restricted gift of Cynthia and Terry E. Perucca; African and Amerindian Art Purchase Fund, 2009.580

The Yoruba appreciate the color variations and sparkling surfaces of beads, as well as the way that they can be combined into dazzling patterns. Beads contain àse (animating force) and become further imbued with it when worn. Today titled Yoruba men wear beaded regalia as an expression of power, status, and divine sanction. This tunic’s imagery refers to power and domination. Two male figures flank the front opening, while on the back a coiled snake sits beneath another male figure, possibly holding a shield. Around these motifs and on the sides and arms are geometric patterns. [See also 2009.581].

— Revised permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Ownership History

Oba Dele Adeshina, Odo-Ona Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria, until 2009; sold to Garuba Konte, Albuquerque, N.M., 2009; sold to Douglas Dawson Gallery, Chicago, Ill., 2009; sold to the Art Institute, 2009.




Interpretive Resources

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