Art of Personal Adornment

African Art at New Orleans Museum of Art

By New Orleans Museum of Art

King's Tunic (agbada ileke) (circa late 19th-early 20th century) by Yoruba ArtistNew Orleans Museum of Art

As a royal regalia, beaded garment signifies a person of high social status and kings.
The bird figure on this agbada ileke symbolizes the connection of the king to the realm of the spirits.

Bwami Society Insignia Hat by Lega ArtistNew Orleans Museum of Art

Bwami is a men's secret society that educates younger men (initiates) into manhood through different rites of passage. This hat signifies the importance of its wearer.

Leopard Head Hip Ornament (uhunmwaun-ekhue) (circa 16th-19th century) by Edo Artist, Benin KingdomNew Orleans Museum of Art

Worn among other accouterments on the hip of the king of Benin, the leopard signifies the person of the king, just as it is regarded as the king of the forest.

Headdress by Karamojong ArtistNew Orleans Museum of Art

Bwami Society Insignia Hat (n.d.) by Lega ArtistNew Orleans Museum of Art

Headdress by Kapsiki ArtistNew Orleans Museum of Art

Headdress with Elongated Animal by Kom PeoplesNew Orleans Museum of Art

Worn by a high status individual in the Kom culture of Cameroon. This is another insignia of social elevation.

Bwami Society Insignia Hat by Lega ArtistNew Orleans Museum of Art

Ceremonial Sword and Sheath (udamalore) (circa 19th-20th century) by Yoruba ArtistNew Orleans Museum of Art

Created with cloth and beads, this ceremonial sheath highlights the complex royal idea of kingship. Painstakingly joining every part of this object speaks to the enduring nature of kingship.

Beaded Crown of Orangun (ade) by Yoruba ArtistNew Orleans Museum of Art

The strands on this headdress is the veil that conceals the face of the king when he is attending a social function. This is because a king is not looked eyeball to eyeball in Yoruba culture.

HeaddressNew Orleans Museum of Art

Woman's Belt (ndodi mu-ikup making) (20th century) by Kuba ArtistNew Orleans Museum of Art

An item of female adornment. When worn, cowrie and beaded belts combine to speak to the material elegance of women.

Prestige HatNew Orleans Museum of Art

The inpu is a hat that distinguishes an elderly and respected male in society.

Credits: Story

All objects are in the collection of the New Orleans museum of Art. For further consultation and inquiries log on to www.noma.org.

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