The Yoruba of Nigeria are legendary for their antiquity, creativity, artistic excellence and rich court culture. The Yoruba kings and their court accumulated treasuries of elaborate beadwork such as this important crown. The fringe was believed to protect onlookers from the potentially harmful visage of the king. The bird on top—a classic feature of high rank crowns—protected the king from any threatening forces. The glass beads were imported from Europe, India and the Middle East at least since the 12th century.