Jan 25, 2016
A Catalog of Adinkra Cloth Symbols
Adinkra, or stamped fabric, is one of the textile arts of Ghana. Every stamp has a symbolic meaning, and there are hundreds of different symbols in adinkra. The adinkra cloth symbols express various themes that relate to the history, beliefs and philosophy of the Asante. They mostly have rich proverbial meaning since proverbs play an important role in the Akan culture. The use of proverbs is considered as a mark of wisdom.
Other adinkra cloth symbols depict historical events, human behaviour and attitudes, animal behaviour, plant life forms and shapes of objects.
Rattray’s classic volume on the Asante culture of Ghana includes a catalog of 53 adinkra cloth symbols, he missed out on seven symbols in the cloth Bowdich had collected from Kumasi in 1817 that Rattray was aware of.
In fact, the Adinkra cloth symbols continue to change as new influences impact on Ghanaian culture as some of the symbols now record specific technological developments. We have compiled a catalogue of over 800 adinkra cloth symbols
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