The intricate beading of an Oba's (king's) crown displays power and status. They are worn only for rituals during the annual festival where the king appears in public. The faces on the crown link the king to his ancestors and also project the sense of an omniscient, all-seeing ase (authority). The veil of beads serves to both add an air of mystery to the king's face and protect others from his powerful gaze. Birds atop the crown symbolize the idea that no single man can rule without the support and cooperation of his community and birds traditionally signify a link between the physical and spiritual realms. This example was likely made for export.
The crown incarnates the intuition of royal ancestral force, the revelation of great moral insight in the person of the king, and the glitter of aesthetic experience.
Robert Farris Thompson