Monday, June 7, 2010
AKENZUA II -OBA OF BENIN
The Oba of Benin here is depicted in his full ceremonial robes.
The crown,collars and upper portion of the dress are made of thousands of coral beads,most of which are hundreds of years old.Early Portuguese traders trading with the benin chiefs used coral as a currency,and it became the practice of the benin and Yoruba chiefs,as well as the other tribes of the Niger Delta,to use coral for covering ceremonial dress and regalia.
The oba wears an elaborate shirt made entirely of coral beads;his neck is hung around with many collars of coral.The skirt is made of red felt to which has been sewn a pattern representing oba,s supported by attendants.The waist is decorated with ivory tubes and a band of hand-woven embroidery.
An attendant carries the obas sword of state which, like the crown,skirt,slippers,is entirely covered with coral beads.
This ceremonial dress is of considerable weight and difficult to wear,and it is therefore usual for the oba to be supported by attendants when walking in public.