Adinkra Symbols

Adinkra have a rich cultural history.  Adinkra are ancient African visual symbols or motifs that date back to the Akan people in 19th century Ivory Coast and Ghana and express history, culture, beliefs and philosophy. While many symbols represent a proverb or piece of Akan wisdom, other symbols may depict historical events, customs, culture, the natural world or environment.  (Not all symbols have a proverbial expression.)


Adinkra have historically been painted or printed onto cloth which was then worn during important sacred ceremonies including funerals, weddings, naming festivities and more.  Contemporary use of Adinkra symbols has widened to use in jewelry, architecture and home decor.


Adinkra Symbols Key

SESA WORUBAN
"I change or transform my life"
transformation
SANKOFA
"return and get it"
Learn from the past.
OSRAM NE NSOROMMA
"The Moon and the Star"
love, faithfulness, harmony
BESE SAKA
"sack of cola nuts"
affluence, power, abundance, plenty, togetherness and unity
ODO NNYEW FIE KWAN
"Love never loses its way home"
the power of love
ADINKRAHENE
"Chief of the adinkra symbols"
greatness, charisma and leadership
NSOROMMA
"child of the heavens" (stars)
guardianship
KWATAKYE ATIKO
"bravery and valor"
GYE NYAME
"except for God"
Supremacy of God
ESE NE TEKREMA
"the teeth and the tongue"
friendship and interdependence
DUAFE
"wooden comb"
beauty and cleanliness; symbols of desirable feminine qualities
AKOMA NTOSO
"linked hearts"
Understanding and agreement.