African Adinkra Symbols
The Adinkra symbols of West Africa were created and developed by the Asante people of Ghana. The country of Ghana is a beautiful West African country on the Atlantic, situated between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo. The Adinkra symbols are associated with rich African traditions dating back to around the 16th century. The meanings of these symbols are derived from inspirational proverbs, human attitudes and beliefs, concepts related to abstract shapes, cultural meanings as well as other historical events and religious beliefs. They are still widely used to this day to convey a specific message through a wide range of products and crafts including Adinkra cloths, clothing accessories, home décor items, architecture and more.
These beautiful symbols are believed to be traced back to the Gyaaman clans of what is presently the Ivory Coast. At that time, the Adinkra symbols were only used during important ceremonies such as funerals and religious celebrations. They were the exclusive rite of the most important people like spiritual leaders and royalty. Eventually the symbols were adopted by the neighboring Asante people who incorporated their own culture, philosophies and beliefs as they further developed the symbols into what they are today.
Although, the symbols are no longer used as solely an exclusive rite by religious leaders and royalty, they still have significant meanings for the people that use them. They are a major influence in African art to this day, and can be found in wood carvings, traditional African mudcloths, furniture and other mediums. Below are a few of my favorite Adinkra symbols hand craft on 925 Sterling Silver as part of my AfricanQueens collection.