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4 / Ceremony and Society

Royal Crown (adènlà)
Royal Crown (adènlà)
Artist / Origin Yoruba artist, Nigeria
Region: Africa
Date 20th century
Material Glass beads, fiber, cloth, and thread
Medium: Other
Dimensions 54 1/2 in x 8 x 8 in (including beaded veil)
Location Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
Credit Courtesy of the Newark Museum

expert perspective

Mary Nooter RobertsProfessor of Culture and Performance, University of California, Los Angeles
Babatunde LawalProfessor of Art History, Virginia Commonwealth University
Christa ClarkeSenior Curator of Arts of Africa and the Americas, Newark Museum

Royal Crown (adènlà)

» Yoruba artist, Nigeria

expert perspective

Mary Nooter Roberts Mary Nooter Roberts Professor of Culture and Performance, University of California, Los Angeles

One of the things that differentiates the museum experience from the kinds of display that you might see elsewhere in the world is that multi-sensory dimension is lacking in museums. We focus in Western museums on the visual. We prioritize the ocular, but in most parts of the world, display involves all the senses.

So for example, one of the aspects of objects of status and prestige is to aggrandize the person or the people in question. If it’s a king, for example, the king’s dress or garb will literally make him or her larger as a person. Staffs of office, scepters and spears, and ceremonial weapons of different kinds, literally extend the reach of the ruler. Crowns and head pieces of different kinds literally protrude into the sky in a way that enlarges and aggrandizes the person.

So the person, both physically and metaphorically, is larger than life. And this is really important because very often the kinds of objects made of these precious and rare materials are being used to designate somebody as literally having one foot in humanity and one foot in the other world, someone who may be between this world and the other world, somebody perhaps of at least semi-divine attributes.” 

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