According to an Asante (Ghana) legend Adinkra was the name of a king of the Gyaman. Adinkra was defeated and captured in a battle by the Ashanti’s.
He was finally executed, and his territory annexed to the kingdom of Ashanti.
The tradition had it that Nana Adinkra wore patterned cloth, which was interpreted as a way of expressing his sorrow on being taken to Kumasi the capital of Asante.
The Asante people around the 19th century then took to painting of traditional symbols of the Gyamans onto cloth, a tradition that was well-practiced by the latter.
Adinkra also means ‘goodbye’ or ‘farewell’ in Twi the language of the Akan ethnic group of which Asante is a part. It has therefore been the tradition of the Akan especially the Asante to wear cloths decorated with Adinkra symbols on important occasions especially at funerals of family relations and friends. This is to signify their sorrow and to bid farewell to the deceased.
Today, the Adinkra cloth is not exclusively worn by the Asante people. It is worn by other ethnic groups in Ghana on a variety of social gatherings and festive occasions.
Symbolism / Significance
The Adinkra 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 Asante culture.
The use of Proverbs is considered as a mark of wisdom. Other Adinkra symbols depict historical events, human behaviour and attitudes, animal behaviour, plant life forms and shapes of objects.
Here are just a selection we crated to enhance you spiritual enlightenment: