Opera News

Opera News App

History Of Adinkra Symbols.

JudaGh
By JudaGh | self meida writer
Published 9 days ago - 0 views

Adinkra symbols

West African symbols that represent concepts or aphorisms


This article is about the Bono visual symbols. For the term in physics, see Adinkra symbols (physics).

Adinkra are symbols from Ghana that represent concepts or aphorisms. Adinkra are used extensively in fabrics, logos and pottery. They are incorporated into walls and other architectural features. Fabric adinkra ary woodcut sign writing as well as screen printing.[citation needed] Adinkra symbols appear on some traditional Akan goldweights. The symbols are also carved on stools for domestic and ritual use. Tourism has led to new departures in the use of the symbols in such items as T-shirts and jewellery.


Calabash adinkra stamps


Samples of recorded Adinkra symbols

The symbols have a decorative function but also represent objects that encapsulate evocative messages that convey traditional wisdom, aspects of life or the environment. There are many different symbols with distinct meanings, often linked with proverbs. In the words of Kwame Anthony Appiah, they were one of the means for "supporting the transmission of a complex and nuanced body of practice and belief".


History


1817 Adinkra mourning cloth

Adinkra symbols were originally created by the Bono people of Gyaman, an Akan people of Ghana. Gyaman King Nana Kwadwo Agyemang Adinkra originally created or designed these symbols and named it after himself 'Adinkra'. The Adinkra symbols were largely used on pottery, stools etc by the people of Bono. Adinkra cloth was worn by the King of Gyaaman, and its usage spread from Bono Gyaman to Asante and other Akan Kingdoms following its defeat. It is said that the guild designers who designed this cloth for the kings were forced to teach the Asantes the craft. Gyaman king Nana Kwadwo Agyemang Adinkra's first son, Apau, who was said to be well versed in the Adinkra craft, was forced to teach more about Adinkra cloths. Oral accounts have attested to the fact that Adinkra Apau taught the process to a man named Kwaku Dwaku in a town near Kumasi. Over time all Akan people including the Fante, Akuapem and Akyem all made Adinkra symbols a major part of their culture as they all originated from the ancient Bono Kingdom.


The patterns were printed using carved calabash stamps and a vegetable-based dye. The cloth features fifteen stamped symbols, including nsroma (stars), dono ntoasuo (double Dono drums), and diamonds. It is now in the British Museum.


1825 Adinkra cloth

The next oldest piece of adinkra textile was sent in 1825 from the Elmina Castle to the royal cabinet of curiosities in The Hague, in response to an assignment from Major F. Last, who was appointed temporary Commander of Dutch Gold Coast. He had the cloth commissioned from the Fante Paramount Chief of Elmina for William I of the Netherlands, which would explain why the Coat of arms of the Netherlands is in the centre. The other motifs are typical of the older adinkras. It is now on display in the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden.


Adinkra cloth

Adinkra cloths were traditionally only worn by royalty and spiritual leaders for funerals and other very special occasions. In the past they were hand-printed on undyed, red, dark brown or black hand-woven natural cotton fabric depending on the occasion and the wearer's role; nowadays they are frequently mass-produced on brighter coloured fabrics


Anthony Boakye uses a comb to mark parallel lines on an adinkra cloth in Ntonso, Ghana.


Anthony Boakye prints an adinkra cloth with a calabash stamp in Ntonso, Ghana.

The present centre of traditional production of adinkra cloth is from Ghana, Ntɔnso, 20 km northwest of Kumasi and in Ivory Coast. Dark Adinkra aduro pigment for the stamping is made there, by soaking, pulverizing, and boiling the inner bark and roots of the badie tree (Bridelia ferruginea) in water over a wood fire. Once the dark colour is released, the mixture is strained, and then boiled for several more hours until it thickens. The stamps are carved out of the bottom of a calabash piece. They measure between five and eight centimetres square. They have a handle on the back, and the stamp itself is slightly curved so that the dye can be put on with a rocking motion.


Sample of symbols listed

Recorded sample of fifty three adinkra symbols and their meanings


Adinkra symbols recorded by Robert Sutherland Rattray, 1927

More information: Number, Symbol Name ...

List of symbols and Information

Number Symbol Name Literal Meaning Further Details Related Symbols

1 Aban a two-storied house, a castle this design was formerly worn by the King of Gyaman alone

4 Adinkira 'hene the Adinkira king 'chief' of all these Adinkira designs

8 Agyindawuru the agyin tree's gong the juice of a tree of that name is sometimes squeezed into a gong and is said to make the sound pleasing to the spirits

Akam an edible plant, possibly a yam

9 Akoben the war-horn

12 Akoko nan tia 'ba, na nkum 'ba A hen treads upon chickens but does not kill them

13 Akoma a heart, with a cross in the centre

[None listed] No. 13

14 AKOMA NTOSO the joined hearts

18 Aya the fern the word also means 'I am not afraid of you', 'I am independent of you' and the wearer may imply this by wearing it

20 BI NKA BI no one should bite the other

23 DAME-DAME name of a board game symbol of intelligence and ingenuity

25 Dono the dono drum

26 Dono ntoasuo the double dono drums

27 Duafe the wooden comb

28 Dwenini aben the ram's horns

30 Epa handcuffs

34 Fihankra the circular house

35 Se die fofoo pe, ne se gyinantwi abo bedie what the yellow-flowered fofoo plant wants is that the gyinantwi seeds should turn black A Bono saying. One of the cotton cloth designs bears the same name. The fofoo, the botanical name of which is Bidens pilosa, has a small yellow flower, which, when it drops its petals, turns into a black spiky seed. Said of a jealous person.

37 Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu Siamese crocodiles They share one stomach yet they fight over food

38 Gyawu Atiko the back of Gyawu's head Gyawu was a sub-chief of Gyaman who at the Adae Kesse ceremony is said to have had his hair shaved in this fashion

39 Gye Nyame 'Except God' or 'Only God'

41 Hye wo nhye He who would burn you be not burned

44 Kojo Biaden

47 Papani amma yenhu Kramo The (large number of) people who do good prevents us knowing who really are Mohammedans as adherents of Islam are enjoined to do good works in the community, and increasing numbers of non-Muslims are also doing so, we can no longer use that criterion to distinguish those Muslims living amongst us

49 Kuntinkantan bent and spread out kuntinkantan is used in the sense of 'do not boast, do not be arrogant'

50 [None Listed] copied from Europeans

Non listed Kwatakye atiko at the back of Kwatakye's head Kwatakye was a war captain of one of the Gyaman kings; at the Adae Kesse ceremony he is said to have cut his hair after this fashion

Non listed Mmrafo ani ase the keloids on a Hausa man

55 Mmra Krado the Hausa man's lock

56 Musuyidie something to remove evil a cloth with this design stamped upon it lay beside the sleeping couch of the King of Gyaman, and every morning when he rose he placed his left foot upon it three times

58 Mpuannum five tufts (of hair)

62 Nkonsonkonson links of a chain

63 Nkotimsefuopua certain attendants on the Queen Mother who dressed their hair in this fashion. Similar to a swastika.

66 Nkyimkyim the twisted pattern

68 Nsaa from a design of this name found on nsa cloths

69 Nsirewa cowries

70 Nsoroma / Nsoromma a child of the Sky / Child of the Heavens referring to the saying: Oba Nyankon soroma te Nyame so na onte ne ho so, 'Like the star, the child of the Supreme Being, I rest with God and do not depend upon myself.' / the pattern was on the King of Gyaman's pillow

71 Ma te; Masie I have heard (what you have said); I have hidden it this extols the virtue of being able to keep a confidence

Non listed Nyame, biribi wo soro, ma no me ka me nsa O God, everything which is above, permit my hand to touch it the pattern was stamped on paper and hung above the lintel of a door in the palace. The King of Gyaman used to touch lintel, then his forehead, then his breast, repeating these words three times

74 Nyame dua an altar to the Sky God

76 Nyame nwu na ma wu May Nyame die before I die

Non listed Obi nka obie I offend no one without a cause

84 Ohene niwa (in) the king's little eyes To be in the king's favour

85 Ohen' tuo the king's gun

86 Kodie mmowerewa the eagle's talons

96 Sankofa turn back and fetch it

97 Sankofa turn back and fetch it

98 Sepow a knife thrust through the cheeks of a man the man is about to be executed to prevent his invoking of a curse on the king

Content created and supplied by: JudaGh (via Opera News )

Tags:      

Adinkra Akan Bono Ghana West African
Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform

YOU MAY LIKE

Go to Saudi Arabia to legalize LGBTQI there. Lawyer descends heavily on diplomats.

40 minutes ago

30 🔥

Go to Saudi Arabia to legalize LGBTQI there. Lawyer descends heavily on diplomats.

List Of All The 9 Kids Of Osei Kwame Despite

46 minutes ago

18 🔥

List Of All The 9 Kids Of Osei Kwame Despite

Nana Appiah Mensah gifts 3 brand new cars to all musicians on his Zylofon music label

55 minutes ago

15 🔥

Nana Appiah Mensah gifts 3 brand new cars to all musicians on his Zylofon music label

Intellectual Defense Against LGBTQI In Ghana

1 hours ago

5 🔥

Intellectual Defense Against LGBTQI In Ghana

W/R: The Gov't Of Ghana Must See How The Flood's Are Destroying Millions Of Properties In Takoradi.

2 hours ago

120 🔥

W/R: The Gov't Of Ghana Must See How The Flood's Are Destroying Millions Of Properties In Takoradi.

2 Toyota Landcruiser's knock down 2 basic school pupils at Mankessim while crossing a road to school

2 hours ago

10 🔥

2 Toyota Landcruiser's knock down 2 basic school pupils at Mankessim while crossing a road to school

See What Haruna Iddrisu Is Saying About Gay And Lesbianism

3 hours ago

153 🔥

See What Haruna Iddrisu Is Saying About Gay And Lesbianism

Ghanaian migrant shares horrific experiences as a maid servant in Lebanon. Lessons to others.

4 hours ago

229 🔥

Ghanaian migrant shares horrific experiences as a maid servant in Lebanon. Lessons to others.

An Unexplored Bread Option Just For You

4 hours ago

1 🔥

An Unexplored Bread Option Just For You

See Luxurious Cars And Mansions Of Lilwin

4 hours ago

475 🔥

See Luxurious Cars And Mansions Of Lilwin

COMMENTS