A beaded cone-shaped crown with a long fringe of beads that covers the wearer’s face is the most important symbol of Yoruba kingship. Crowns are decorated with beaded faces, birds and geometric patterns. The faces represent local kings, past and present. The gathering of birds refers both to rituals that make the king semidivine and to the concealed forces that enable him to control and mediate the human and supernatural realms. The veil protects the king’s subjects from the supernatural powers radiating from his face. According to the crown makers of Efon-Alaiye, the earliest crowns were decorated with beads of one color. Crowns are now decorated with brilliantly colored glass beads, which have been imported from Europe probably since the mid-17th century.