How Did Jose Rodriguez Use The Crown As An Instrument Of Power

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Jose Rodriguez created the art piece of the "Crown" in 1997, inspired by the Yoruba culture. Rodriguez was influenced by various practitioners of the Yoruba rituals that he met in his travels from Cuba, New York, and Puerto Rico. His most well-known piece, the Crown, is made from the materials of beads, feathers, wood, thread, shells, and fabric. In the Yoruba culture, power can be bestowed inside a crown and the person wearing it. According to the article “Yoruba & Cultural Traditional Renaissances” it states that “the beaded crown was not simply regarded as a symbol of the divine nature of the oba but was believed to be, by virtue of elements of its design, an instrument of power by which the oba was able to intercede with the spirit world, …show more content…

The crown gives him respect and authority; however, the crown having a bird on it signifies the illusion that he is a liminal figure or a diviner. In the journal article “The Sign of the Divine King: An Essay on Yoruba Bead-Embroidered Crowns with Veil and Bird Decorations” written by Robert Farris Thompson, he mentions that “we have seen there are probably active power concealed in the crown with fringes and it might be added that on ceremonial occasions skulls are mounted on staffs to deflect evil from the King of Benin” and adding a bird emphasized the Oba with witchcraft. The crown gives the Oba magical powers that he would typically not have, and because of this reason, he resembles a God-like figure. He has the power to hurt one if they are disobedient or acting up and can connect with the spirits demanding them to destroy one. Also, depending on the numbers of birds on the crown indicates how strong the Obas power is (Thompson 77). Though on this crown it only has one bird, demonstrating that the Oba has a strong supernatural power but is not to the full potential. Within the crown it lies the Obas future, because “it is believed among the people of Yoruba that if the king looks into the crown, it will lead to his own destruction” (Yoruba Style Crown). This explains why a woman and or his wife, are to be the only ones who can look into without causing harm. Although, if the Oba does or creates any demolition, then he is forced to look into the crown, wishing death upon himself. The crown has a magical power that posses the Oba, which is why the king should always cherish it. The crown can take the Obas life away if he does not have the country in his best interest. If this does occur or if the Oba suddenly passes away then the crown is to be kept in a shrine for

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