Now Reading
Understanding The Meanings of Adinkra, A Rich Symbol Of African Culture

Understanding The Meanings of Adinkra, A Rich Symbol Of African Culture

adinkra-symbol-african-culture-meaning

African culture has always been full of various forms of art, like the Benin art from the ancient Edo empire to our subject for today, Adinkra. These arts, symbols and their meanings are a huge form that connects to not just culture, but also the ancient spirituality of the various ethnicities present in Africa. 

Adinkra symbols originated in modern-day Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire from the Asante/Ashanti people who would print them on fabrics and inscribe them on pottery and metalwork according to how they related with their meanings.

These Adinkra symbols represent popular proverbs and maxims, record historical events, express particular attitudes or behavior related to depicted figures, or concepts uniquely related to abstract shapes. Adikra symbols with meaning.

Photo: @trulymdluli | Instagram

The word Adinkra means ‘farewell’ or ‘goodbye’ in Twi, and for this reason the fabric called Adinkra cloth is mostly worn for special occasions, especially funerals. Traditionally, Adinkra cloth is hand woven and specially printed using calabash stamps.

The cultural implications and meaning of the Adinkra symbols have extended so much that it is now incorporated into modern art expressions such as tattoos, tourism merchandise like t-shirts, shorts, key holders, and sometimes, branding for organizations. The University of Ghana currently uses Adinkra iconography in its official logo and crest.

adinkra-symbol-african-culture-meaning
Kanaiza.Kanaiza

Need a little inspiration for your next tattoo or printable wear, we are sharing the loveliest Adinkra symbols and their interpretations to help you out.

Check out 35 Adinkra symbols and their meanings…

Odo Nnyew Fie Kwan

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Love does not miss its way home
Meaning: Those led by love will never lose their way.

.

Akoma

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Heart
Meaning: A symbol of patience and tolerance.

.

Nsoromma

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: A Star
Meaning: Child of the heavens.

Tamfo Bebre

Photo: @boutique.grandeur | Instagram

Symbol: The enemy will suffer
Meaning: A symbol connoting the awareness of ill-will, jealousy, and envy.

.

Denkyem

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Crocodile
Meaning: A symbol of adaptability, cleverness.

.

Duafe

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: A wooden comb
Meaning: A symbol of beauty, hygiene, feminine qualities.

.

Nyame Nnwu Na Mawu

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: God never dies, therefore, I cannot die
Meaning: A symbol of the immortality of man (man’s soul).

.

Sankofa

Photo: @tessworlddesigns | Instagram

Symbol: Return and get it
Meaning: Learn from the past.

Dwennimmen

Photo: @thetwicompany | Instagram

Symbol: Ram’s horns
Meaning: A symbol of strength and humility.

.

Akoma Ntoaso

Photo: @flyshikis | Instagram

Symbol: Extension of the heart
Meaning: Charter, agreement.

.

Abe Dua

Photo: @fromthecorecoaching | Instagram

Symbol: Palm tree
Meaning: A symbol of wealth, resourcefulness, and self-sufficiency.

.

Nyame Dua

Photo: @adjoaessentials | Instagram

Symbol: God’s tree (sacred stump)
Meaning: A symbol of God’s presence and protection.

.

Akoben

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: War horn
Meaning: A symbol of vigilance and wariness.

.

Kuronti Ne Akwamu

Photo: @readingsbyvida | Instagram

Symbol: Kuronti and Akwamu
Meaning: A symbol of democracy, sharing ideas, taking council.

Akokonan

Photo: @by.tzari | Instagram

Symbol: Leg of a hen
Meaning: A symbol of nurturing coupled with discipline.

.

Hwemudua

Photo: @passion_adinkra | Instagram

Symbol: Measuring rod (investigation rod)
Meaning: A symbol of high quality and excellence.

.

Mpatapo

Photo: @adinkrarepublic | Instagram

Symbol: Pacification knot
Meaning: A symbol of pacification, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Okuafo Pa

Symbol: Good farmer
Meaning: A symbol of diligence, hard work, entrepreneurship.

.

Nkonsonnkonson

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Chain
Meaning: A symbol of unity, community.

.

Sepow

Photo: @adinkrarepublic | Instagram

Symbol: Executioner’s knife
Meaning: A symbol of justice

.

Menso Wo Kenten

Photo: @tattoowattoo | Instagram

Symbol: I am not carrying your basket
Meaning: A symbol of industry, self-reliance, and economic self-determination.

.

Nea Onnim

Photo: @kossua_accessories | Instagram

Symbol: He who does not know.
Meaning: A symbol of knowledge and learning.

.

Funtumfunafu Denkyemfunafu

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Conjoined crocodiles
Meaning: A symbol of unity in diversity given a common destiny; sharing.

.

Mframadan

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Well-ventilated house
Meaning: A symbol of resilience and readiness to face the vicissitudes of life.

Osram Ne Nsoromma

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Moon and star
Meaning: A symbol of faithfulness, fidelity.

.

Woforo Dua Pa A

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: When you climb a good tree
Meaning: A symbol of support for good causes.

.

Gye Nyame

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Except for God
Meaning: A symbol expressing the omnipotence of God.

.

Bese Saka

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Sack of cola nuts
Meaning: A symbol of affluence, power, and abundance.

.

Mpuannum

Photo: @tgnuk | Instagram

Symbol: Five tufts (of hair)
Meaning: A symbol of loyalty and priestly office.

.

Epa

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Handcuffs
Meaning: A symbol of slavery, law, and order.

.

Mmere Dane

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Time changes
Meaning: A symbol of the temporariness of good times.

Nkyinkyim

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: Twisting
Meaning: A symbol depicting the twists and turns in the journey of life.

.

Nteasee

Photo: @narteyblessing | Instagram

Symbol: Understanding
Meaning: A symbol of understanding and cooperation.

 

Adinkrahene

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: King of Adinkra symbols
Meaning: A symbol of leadership and charisma.

.

Owuo Atwedee

Photo: @sekei_thia | Instagram

Symbol: The ladder of death
Meaning: A symbol of the certainty and universality of death.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram | Kika Osunde


For the latest in fashion, lifestyle and culture, follow us on Instagram @StyleRave_


This is a Style Rave original content exclusively created for our readers. If reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached, or otherwise used by any other publishing house or blogs, such use should provide a direct link to this source article. Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Leave Comment

Leave a Reply

Style Rave participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

Copyright © 2021 Style Rave NG LLC dba STYLE RAVE

Scroll To Top