M-W of Adinkra Symbols

Adinkra Index



mate masieMATE MASIE -“what I hear, I keep” wisdom, knowledge, prudence
Ntesi-Matemasi symbolizes wisdom and knowledge. “Nyasa bun mu nne mate masie masie.”

me ware woME WARE WO -“I shall marry you” commitment, perseverance

mframadanMFRAMADAN -“wind-resistant house” fortitude, preparedness

MMERE DANE – “time changes” change, life’s dynamics

MMUSUYIDEE -“that which removes ill luck” good fortune, sanctity

MPATAPO -“knot of reconciliation” peacemaking, reconciliation

MPUANNUM -“five tufts” (of hair) priestly office, loyalty, adroitness

NEA ONNIM NO SUA A, OHU -“he who does not know can know from learning” knowledge, life-long education

NEA OPE SE OBEDI HENE -“he who wants to be king” service, leadership

NKONSONKONSON -“chain links” unity, human relations
Nkonsonkonso symbolizes human relations. We are linked in both life and death; those who share blood relations never break apart.

NYAME DUA -“tree of god” God’s protection and presence

NKYIMU -the crossed divisions made on adinkra cloth before printing skillfulness, precisionNKYINKYIM -“twistings” initiative, dynamism, versatility

NSAA -type of hand-woven cloth excellence, genuineness, authenticity

NSOROMMA -“child of the heavens” guardianship
Nosoroma symbolizes a star; a child of the heavens. “A child of the Supreme Being, I do not depend on myself. My illumination is only a reflection of His.”

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

NYAME YE OHENE -“God is King” majesty and supremacy of God

NYANSAPO -“wisdom knot” wisdom, ingenuity, intelligence and patience

ODO NNYEW – FIE KWAN -“love never loses its way home” power of love

OKODEE MMOWERE -“talons of the eagle” bravery, strength

ONYANKOPON ADOM NTI BIRIBIARA BEYE YIE -“By God’s grace, all will be well” hope, providence, faith

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

PEMPAMSIE -“sew in readiness” readiness, steadfastness
Penpamsie symbolizes strength in unity; that which will not be crushed. “Penpamise see bebirebe ahocden ne koroye.”

SANKOFA -“return and get it” learn from the past
Symbol of the importance of learning from the past to build for the future. The symbol is of a bird that has its feet firmly planted forward, but its head turned backwards.
Sankofa is an Akan term that literally means “go back and get it”. One of the adinkra symbols for sankofa depicts a mythical bird flying forward with its head turned backward. The egg in its mouth represents the “gems” or knowledge of the past upon which wisdom is based; it also signifies the generation to come that would benefit from that wisdom. This symbol often is associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi”, which translates to, “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten”.
The Akan believe that the past illuminates the present and that the search for knowledge is a life-long process. The pictograph illustrates the quest for knowledge, while the proverb suggests the rightness of such a quest as long as it is based on knowledge of the past.

SANKOFA -(alternate version)

SESA WO SUBAN -“I change or transform my life” transformation

TAMFO BEBRE -“the enemy will stew in his own juice” jealousy

WAWA ABA  -“seed of the wawa tree” hardiness, toughness, perseverance

WOFORO DUA PA A -“when you climb a good tree” support, cooperation

WO NSA DA MU A -“if your hands are in the dish” democracy, pluralism



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