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ADINKRA SYMBOLS

   

ADINKRAHENE

"chief of adinkra symbols" greatness, charisma, leadership
 

AKOBEN

"war horn" vigilance, wariness
 

AKOKONAN

"the leg of a hen" mercy, nurturing
 

AKOMA

"the heart" patience & tolerance
 

AKOMA NTOSO

"linked hearts" understanding, agreement
 

ASASE YE DURU

"the Earth has weight" divinity of Mother Earth
 

BESE SAKA

"sack of cola nuts" affluence, abundance, unity
 

BI NKA BI

"no one should bite the other" peace, harmony
 

BOA ME NA
ME MMOA WO

"help me and let me help you" cooperation, interdependence
 

DAME-DAME

name of a board game intelligence, ingenuity
 

DENKYEM

"crocodile" adaptability
 

DUAFE

"wooden comb" beauty, hygiene, feminine qualities

 

DWENNIMMEN

"ram's horns" humility and strength
 

EBAN

"fence" love, safety, security
 

EPA

"handcuffs" law, justice, slavery
 

ESE NE TEKREMA

"the teeth and the tongue" friendship, interdependence
 

FIHANKRA

"house/compound" security, safety

 

FOFO

"a yellow-flowered plant" jealousy, envy
 

FUNTUNFUNEFU
DENKYEMFUNEFU

"siamese crocodiles" democracy, unity in diversity
 

GYE NYAME

"except for God" supremacy of God
 

HWEMUDUA

"measuring stick" examination, quality control
 

HYE WONHYE

"that which cannot be burnt" imperishability, endurance
keta pa  

KETE PA

"good bed" good marriage
kintinkantan  

KINTINKANTAN

"puffed up extravagance" arrogance, extravagance
mate masie  

MATE MASIE

"what I hear, I keep" wisdom, knowledge, prudence
me ware wo  

ME WARE WO

"I shall marry you" commitment, perseverance
 

MMUSUYIDEE

"that which removes ill luck" good fortune, sanctity
 

MPATAPO

"knot of reconciliation" peacemaking, reconciliation
 

NKONSONKONSON

"chain links" unity, human relations
 

NKYIMU

the crossed divisions made on adinkra cloth before printing skillfulness, precision
 

NKYINKYIM

"twistings" initiative, dynamism, versatility
 

NSAA

type of hand-woven cloth excellence, genuineness, authenticity
 

NSOROMMA

"child of the heavens" guardianship
 

NYAME BIRIBI
WO SORO

"God is in the heavens" hope
 

NYAME NNWU
NA MAWU

"God never dies, therefore I cannot die" life after death
 

NYAME NTI

"by God's grace" faith & trust in God
 

NYANSAPO

"wisdom knot" wisdom, ingenuity, intelligence and patience
 

ODO NNYEW
FIE KWAN

"love never loses its way home" power of love
 

OSRAM NE NSOROMMA

"the moon and the star" love, faithfulness, harmony
 

OWO FORO ADOBE

"snake climbing the raffia tree" steadfastness, prudence, diligence
 

OWUO ATWEDEE

"the ladder of death" mortality
 

SANKOFA

"return and get it" learn from the past
 

SANKOFA

(alternate version)  
 

SESA WORUBAN

"I change or transform my life" transformation
 

TAMFO BEBRE

"the enemy will stew in his own juice" jealousy
 

WO NSA DA MU A

"if your hands are in the dish" democracy, pluralism

 

Adinkra symbols were developed by the Ashante people of West Africa and can be traced back to the 17th century.  They are part of a rich tradition.

The word "adinkra" means goodbye because originally clothes adorned with Adinkra symbols were only worn during ceremonies to honor the dead.  The symbols worn on the mourner's clothing expressed the qualities attributed to the deceased.  

The Ashante people living in the modern African countries of Ghana and the Ivory Coast, stamp Adinkra symbols on cloth.  The symbols are created by cutting a stamp out of the thick skin of a calabash gourd. The stamp is dipped in dye, made from tree bark, and then repeatedly pressed onto cloth to create patterns.  Each of the stylized patterns has a name and meaning based on a proverb or historical legend.  The shapes of humans, animals, plants, and objects inspired the geometric forms of the symbols.   The number of symbols continue to grow.

Today Adinkra cloth is widely worn at social occasions in Ghana and the symbols are used to decorate objects.  In modern times, they are used worldwide for every-day wear, bridal, formal and special occasions.

Adinkra cloth provides a remarkable display of the values of the Ashante people, developed over many generations. The tradition continues to flourish in Ghana, today.


General Information: feedback@tk-designs.com.
Copyright 2006 TeKay Designs Inc. All rights reserved.


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