Category Archives: Ghana

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 Continue reading

F-K of Adinkra Symbols

Adinkra Symbols

Tradition has it that Adinkra, a famous king of Gyaman (now part of Cote d’Ivoire) angered the Asantehene, Bonsu-Panyin, by trying to copy the Golden Stool. Adinkra was defeated and slain in an ensuing war. It has been suggested that the art of adinkra came from Gyaman. It is also significant that adinkra means farewell, or good-bye, hence the use of the special cloth on funeral occasions (eyie), to say good-bye to the departed.

Adinkra aduru (adinkra medicine) is the stuff used in the stamping process. It is prepared by boiling the bark of badie together with iron slag. Originally the printing was done on a cotton piece lying on the ground. Today, raised platforms with sack coverings act as the printing table. The designs, cut on pieces of calabash with pieces of wood attached for handling, are dipped into the adinkera aduru, then stamped onto the cloth. Adinkra cloth is not meant Continue reading

A-E of Adinkra Symbols

Adinkra Cloth from

African Symbols: Adinkra

The Adinkra symbols were originally designed by “Asante” Craftsment of Ghana, West Africa.

The symbols embody non-verbal communicative and aesthetic values, as well as the way of life of the people who designed them.

The symbols are usually printed on cotton fabric to produce “Adinkra cloths,” which may be worn on such celebrative occasions as child naming, community durbars and funerary rituals.

Each of the symbols has its Asante name and an accompanying literal English translation.


ADINKRAHENE – “chief of adinkra symbols”¬†greatness, charisma, leadership
This symbol is said to have played an inspiring role in the designing of other symbols. it signifies the importance of playing a leadership role.
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Akan Gods of Ashanti

Earth MotherAshanti Gods

The Akan are a people from Ghana and Ivory Coast. Their number is estimated at around 20 million people in both countries. They are divided in several subgroups. There are the Asante (Ashanti), Akwamu, Akyem, Akuapem, Denkyira, Abron, Aowin, Ahanta, Anyi and Baule, among others.
The Ashanti, located in central Ghana, is the largest tribe of the region. It is the major indigenous of the Akans (Ashanti and Fanti) of Ghana. The Ashanti people were always fierce fighters. They emerged as the dominant power in 1670. It conquered other areas, declaring a monopoly on the routes to the coasts. Kumasi, the capital, became the practical urban centre with services and facilities. Until the British capture over the capital Kumasi in 1874.

Aberewa: Primordial woman (see Asase Ya)

Abosom (-): the Gods, “the children of Nyame”, that assist humans on earth. They are akin to Orisha in Yoruba religion, the Vodun in West African Vodun and its derivatives, and the Alusi in Odinani. Abosom receive their power from the Creator Cod and are most often connected to the world as it appears in its natural state. Some of the most famous gods are associated with lakes, rivers, rocks, mountains and forests. These Spirits of nature are of three categories: state Gods, family or clan Gods, and Gods of the medicine man. The continued featuring of a particular god largely depends upon the ability of that Abosom to function to the satisfaction of supplicants. Continue reading

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