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Adinkra Symbols

Adinkra symbolism is a visual representation of social thought relating to the history, philosophy and religious beliefs of the Akan peoples of Ghana and Cote' d'lvoire.

History is not exactly sure how Adinkra cloth came to be. One version starts it in the early nineteenth century. There was a war between two kings. Adinkera, king of Gyaman (now La cote d'Ivoire) , attempted to copy the designs of the sacred GOLDEN STOOL. The Golden Stool was the unifying force of the Asante Nation. This sacriligious attempt angered the Asantehene, the Ashanti king Nana Osei Bonsu-Panyin. In the war, Adinkera was defeated and killed. The cloth that King Adinkera wore in battle was taken by the Asante as a trophy. With the cloth, the Asante brought with them the art of stamping cloth.

In Africa a great deal of philosophical material is embedded in the proverbs, myth, and folk-tales, folksongs, rituals, beliefs, customs, and traditions of the people.

Adinkra means goodbye. Originally, the cloth was worn only by the royalty and spiritual leaders for mourning during funeral services. It can now be worn by anyone for any occasion. The symbols and their meanings are still used to convey a message.

I happen to love the special look of the Adinkra symbols.

They hold a very special place in my cultural spirit!

Akoma (the heart) Take Heart. Have Patience.

Ohene niwa (in the kings eye) The king has many eyes and nothing is hidden from him.

Nsorooma (a child of the heavens) I am a child of the Supreme Being. I do not depend on myself. My illumination is only a reflection of His.

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Last Updated Dec. 30, 2000 by marie hunter