crowns

Sub-chief's ceremonial crown, cloth skull cap in two pieces with spirals of stitches; with four rectangular pieces of thick leather on the sides and one triangular piece on top. Two of the rectangular pieces have designs in straw interwoven with strips of leather, the other two in incised lines, between which alternate areas of the surface have been taken off. The pieces are attached by leather thongs and bobbles.

Woven crowns with 'Mandingo' leatherwork, such as this example, were often worn by Muslim elites in northern Sierra Leone. Our register suggests this crown was worn by a sub-chief, who would have sat below the regions paramount chief. The tooled leather panels circulating the crown are likely to contain Arabic scripts. These packets are known locally as sebe or sebbeh and are believed to have amuletic properties, protecting the wearer from harm.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

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