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Slippers (Bata Ileke)

A work made of glass beads, cloth, and thread.

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  • A work made of glass beads, cloth, and thread.

Date:

Late 19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Yoruba
Nigeria
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

When Yoruba people greet a king, they say, “May the crown rest long on your head, may shoes remain long on your feet.” For ritual and state occasions, a Yoruba king dresses from head to toe in elaborate beaded and cloth garments. Beaded shoes probably became part of a king’s regalia in the 18th or early 19th century, as European-inspired fashions gained prestige for many Africans. The faces on these shoes suggest the all-seeing powers of a divine king, who is guided by orisa (deities) and ancestors.

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Arts of Africa

Culture

Yoruba

Title

Slippers (Bata Ileke)

Origin

Nigeria

Date

1875–1925

Medium

Glass beads, cloth, and thread

Credit Line

Gift of Deborah Stokes and Jeffrey Hammer

Reference Number

1991.385A-B

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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