Adinkra cloth is a hand-stamped fabric made in Ghana (West Africa).
Adinkra cloth decorated with Adinkra Symbols (Akan people) are linked with proverbs and popular sayings.
A Legend in Ghana says that ADINKRA (Nana Kofi Adinkra) was a famous king of GYAMAN (Now Ivory Coast) that entered into war with Asantahene BONSU-PANYIN (Ashanti King) Adinkra was defeated and captured in a battle.
The tradition had it that Nana Adinkra wore a patterned cloth, which was interpreted as a way of expressing his sorrow on being taken to Kumasi the capital of Asante.
These symbols are often used in cloths, Jewelry, goldweights and wooden artifacts.
Traditionally these textiles were first produced in the Town of Ntonso near Kumasi (the capital of the Ashanti Region).
In the past, Adinkra cloth was exclusively donned by nobility, leaders, and fetish priests during significant events such as funerals, weddings, and other noteworthy ceremonies.
Presently these cloths are worn by anyone, women or men wrapped around their bodies.
The stamping blocks are carved out of the bottom of a calabash (gourd).
They have a handle on the back, and the stamp itself is slightly curved, so that the dye can be put on with a rocking motion.
For the stamping they use locally produce natural dye made from the bark of the "badie" tree.
The artist is using different stamping blocks (Adinkra symbols) to create their designs. Few of the famous Adinkra symbols:
GYE NYAME - There is nothing but the creation of God. (Supremacy of God).
SANKOFA - (Return and take it) and it means that is not a taboo to return and fetch it when you forget. (You can always undo your mistakes).
FUNTUMFUNAFU DENKYEMFUNAFU, WON AFURU BOM, NSO WOREDIDI A NA WOREKO - Sharing one stomach yet they fight over food.
ADINKRAHENE - (King of the Adinkra symbols) and is a symbol of Authority. AKOFENA / AFENA - (State ceremonial swords).
KUNTINKANTAN - (Do not boast) there is a need for humility and service.
GYAWU ATIKO - This is said to be the design shaved on the hair of Gyawu (He was a Bantamahene).
NYAME DU - (Gods Alter) and it symbolizes Gods Protection. SUNSUM - (The Soul) Some Akans believe that the soul of a ruler inhabits a younger courtier.
BI-NKA-BI - (Bite not one another) and is a symbol of Harmony and peace.