Adinkra symbols

From Wikipedia
Adinkra symbols
writing system, alphabet
Part ofAdinkra script Edit
Indigenous toAkan people Edit
LocationAshanti Region Edit
Intangible cultural heritage statusNational Register – Intangible Cultural Heritage of Ghana Edit

Adinkra be symbols wey dey comot from Ghana wey dey represent concepts anaa aphorisms. Dem dey use Adinkra extensively for fabrics insyd, logos den pottery. Dem dey incorporate am for walls den oda architectural features insyd. Adinkra symbols dey appear for sam traditional Akan goldweights top. Dem sana dey carve de symbols for stools top for domestic den ritual use. Tourism make new departures dey use de symbols for items such as T-shirts den jewellery top.

De symbols get sam decorative function but esana dey represent objects wey dey encapsulate evocative messages wey dey convey traditional wisdom, aspects of life, anaa de environment. Chaw symbols dey wey get distinct meanings, wey often dey link plus proverbs. For de words of Kwame Anthony Appiah insyd, na ebe one of de means give "supporting de transmission of a complex and nuanced body of practice and belief".[1]

History[edit | edit source]

Ebe Bono people of Gyaman wey originally create Adinkra symbols. De Gyaman king, Nana Kwadwo Agyemang Adinkra, wey originally create anaa design dese symbols, wey he name am afta ein body. Na de Bono menners largely dey use de Adinkra symbols for pottery, stools top, etc. Na Gyaman king dey wear Adinkra cloth, wey ein usage spread from Bono Gyaman go Asante den oda Akan kingdoms afta dema defeat. Na edey say na dem dey force de guild designers wey na dem dey design dis cloth give de Kings say make dem teach de Asantes de craft. Gyaman king Nana Kwadwo Agyemang Adinkra ein first son, Apau, wey na he be well versed for de Adinkra craft insyd, dem force am say make he teach more about Adinkra cloths. Oral accounts attest plus de fact say Adinkra Apau teach de process give sam man wey ename be Kwaku Dwaku for sam town wey dey near Kumasi.[2][3][4][5][6][7] Ova tym, all Akan people wey dey include de Fante, Akuapem den Akyem all make Adinkra symbols sam major part of dema culture, as na dem all dey originate from de ancient Bono Kingdom.

Dem make de oldest adinkra cloth wey dey survive for 1817 insyd. De cloth dey feature 15 stamped symbols, wey dey include nsroma (stars), dono ntoasuo (double Dono drums), den diamonds. Dem print de patterns plus carved calabash stamps den sam vegetable-based dye. Edey British Museum insyd since 1818, as Thomas E. Bowdich donate am give dem.[8][9][10]

Dem send de next oldest piece of adinkra textile for 1825 insyd from de Elmina Castle go de royal cabinet of curiosities for De Hague insyd, for response insyd give sam assignment from Major Friedrich Last, wey na dem appoint am as temporary Commander of Dutch Gold Coast. Na he get cloth wey dem commission from de Fante paramount chief of Elmina for William I of de Netherlands, wey na ego explain why de coat of arms of de Netherlands dey ein centre. De oda motifs be typical of de older adinkras. Dem display am now for National Museum of Ethnology wey dey Leiden insyd.[11]

For November 2020 insyd, sam school board wey dey York, Pennsylvania insyd, wey dem ban as "a children's coloring book that featured African Adrinkra [sic] symbols found in fabrics, logos and pottery."[12] Dem subsequently overturn de decision.[13]

Adinkra cloth[edit | edit source]

For Akan (Twi) insyd, de term adinkra no really be symbols, but sam particular type of cloth.[14][15] Na royalty den spiritual leaders dey wear Adinkra cloths traditionally for funerals den oda very special occasions. For de past insyd na dem be hand-printed for undyed, red, dark brown anaa black hand-woven natural cotton fabric top wey edey depend for de occasion den de wearer ein role; nowadays dem frequently dey mass-produce am for brighter coloured fabrics top.[16]

Sample of symbols dem list[edit | edit source]

53 adinkra symbols sample dem record den dema meanings

Adinkra symbols wey Robert Sutherland Rattray, 1927 record am
List of symbols den Information
Number Symbol Name Dem mean literally Further Details Symbols wey dey relate
1 Aban two-storied house, castle na de Kong of Gyaman per wey formerly don dis design
4 Adinkira 'hene de Adinkira king 'chief' of all dis Adinkira designs
8 Agyindawuru de agyin tree ein gong de tree ein juice of dat name wey sumtyms dem squeeze for gong insyd wey dem say e go make de sound pleasing to de spirits
Akam edible plant, possibly yam
9 Akoben de war-horn
12 Akoko nan tia 'ba, na nkum 'ba hen dey tread upon chickens buh no dey kill dem
13 Akoma heart, plus cross for de centre
[None listed] No. 13
14 AKOMA NTOSO de hearts dem join
18 Aya de fern de word sanso dey mean 'I no dey fear you', 'I be independent of you' den de wearer wey dey don am fi imply dis
20 BI NKA BI no bro for bite de oda
23 DAME-DAME name of board game symbol of intelligence den ingenuity
25 Dono de dono drum
26 Dono ntoasuo de double dono drums
27 Duafe de wooden comb
28 Dwenini aben de ram ein horns
30 Epa handcuffs
34 Fihankra de circular house
35 Se die fofoo pe, ne se gyinantwi abo bedie what de yellow-flowered fofoo plant dey want be dat de gyinantwi seeds for turn black Bono dey say. One of de cotton cloth designs dey bear de same name. De fofoo, de botanical name wey be Bidens pilosa, get small yellow flower, wey, wen e drop ein petals, dey turn go black spiky seed. Jealous person wey dem say. According to Ayensu (1978), de gyinantwi sanso dey refer to Bidens pilosa.[17]
37 Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu Siamese crocodiles Dem dey share one stomach yet dem dey fight ova food
38 Gyawu Atiko de back of Gyawu ein head Na Gyawu be sub-chief of Gyaman wey for de Adae Kesse ceremony dey say dem shave ein hair for dis fashion insyd
39 Gye Nyame 'Except God' anaa 'God per'
41 Hye wo nhye He wey go burn you make dem no burn am
44 Kojo Biaden
47 Papani amma yenhu Kramo De (chaw) people wey dey do good dey prevent we make we know who really be Mohammedans as dem enjoin de adherents of Islam make dem do good works for de community insyd, wey non-Muslims wey dey increase sanso dey do so, we no longer fi use dat criterion distinguish Muslims wey dey live amongst us
49 Kuntinkantan bent den spread out dem dey use kuntinkantan for de sense of 'make you no boast, make you no be arrogant'
50 [None Listed] dem copy from Europeans
Non listed Kwatakye atiko for de back of Kwatakye ein head Na Kwatakye be war captain of one of de Gyaman kings; for de Adae Kesse ceremony dem say he cut ein hair for dis fashion insyd
Non listed Mmrafo ani ase de keloids for Hausa man top
55 Mmra Krado de Hausa man ein lock
56 Musuyidie sumtin dem take komot evil cloth wey dis design dem stamp upon am besyd de couch wey dey sleep of de Gyaman King, den every morninti wen he rise he place ein left foot for top three tyms
58 Mpuannum five tufts (of hair)
62 Nkonsonkonson links of chain
63 Nkotimsefuopua certain attendants for de Queen Mother top wey dress dema hair for dis fashion insyd. Similar to swastika.
66 Nkyimkyim de pattern dem twist
68 Nsaa from design of dis name dem find for nsa cloths top
69 Nsirewa cowries
70 Nsoroma / Nsoromma kiddie of de Sky / Kiddie of de Heavens dey refer to de saying: Oba Nyankon soroma te Nyame so na onte ne ho so, 'Lyk de star, de kiddie of de Supreme Being, I dey rest plus God den I no dey depend upon my body.' / na de pattern be for de King of Gyaman ein pillow top
71 Ma te; Masie I hear (wat you say); I hide am dis dey extol de virtue of you be able keep confidence
Non listed Nyame, biribi wo soro, ma no me ka me nsa O God, everytin wey dey above, permit make my hand touch am na dem stamp de pattern for paper top wey dem hang above de lintel of door for de palace insyd. Na de Gyaman King use dey touch lintel, then ein forehand, then ein breast, wey dey repeat dis words three tyms
74 Nyame dua altar to de Sky God
76 Nyame nwu na ma wu May Nyame die before I die
Non listed Obi nka obie I offend nobro widout cause
84 Ohene niwa (insyd) de king ein little eyes To be for de king ein favour insyd
85 Ohen' tuo de king ein gun
86 Kodie mmowerewa de eagle ein talons
96 Sankofa turn back den fetch am
97 Sankofa turn back den fetch am
98 Sepow knife dem thrust thru de cheeks of man dem dey cam execute de man make dem prevent ein invoking curse for de king top

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Appiah, Kwame Anthony (1993). In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (1st paperback ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-506852-8.
  2. DeMello, Margo (30 May 2014). Inked: Tattoos and Body Art around the World [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-61069-076-8.
  3. "Adinkra Symbols | African Themed Weddings | African Wedding Ceremonies | African Wedding Traditions". Archived from the original on 8 June 2020. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  4. "History and Origin of Adinkra Symbols". 25 April 2015.
  5. "Adinkra Symbols and the Rich Akan Culture". African Heritage. 27 August 2014.
  6. Boateng, Boatema (2011). The Copyright Thing Doesn't Work Here: Adinkra and Kente Cloth and Intellectual Property in Ghana. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-7002-4.
  7. Rucker, Walter C. (2006). The River Flows on: Black Resistance, Culture, and Identity Formation in Early America. LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-3109-1.
  8. "Adinkra". Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  9. "Adinkra Ghanaian Textile is a printed traditional cloth in Ghana". Bellafricana. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  10. "cloth | British Museum". The British Museum. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2011
  12. Locurto, Tina. "'Afraid to teach': School's book ban targeted Black, Latino authors". York Dispatch. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  13. "Central York School District Reverses Diversity Ban: 'We Have Heard You'". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  14. Christaller, Johann Gottlieb (1881). "adiṅkărá". A Dictionary of the Asante and Fante Language Called Tshi (Chwee, Tw̌i). Basel. p. 84.
  15. Kotey, Paul A. (1998). Twi-English/English-Twi Dictionary. New York: Hippocrene Books. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-7818-0264-2.
  16. DeMello, Margo (30 May 2014). Inked: Tattoos and Body Art around the World [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-61069-076-8.
  17. Ayensu, Edward S. (1978). Medicinal plants of West Africa. Algonac, Mich.: Reference Publications. p. 101. ISBN 9780917256073.