Adinkra Symbols

Associated most often with a multitude of symbols, the term “adinkra” is more accurately used to denote a symbolic funerary message given to transitioning and/or departed souls. The term “di” means “to make use of” or “to employ,” and the term “nkra” means “message.” Literally, then, adinkra means “to make use of a message,” but when spoken together, the term is understood to mean “to leave one another” or “to say goodbye.” Moreover, because the term “nkra” has “kra” (life force; soul) at its root, adinkra is further understood as a message that a transitioning and/or departed soul takes with it on its return to Nyame. Thus, adinkra is a type of language.

Although it is clear that the Akan have used adinkra for many centuries, ...

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