01 August 2007


Adinkra is a cloth used for serious occasions. People wrap themselves in it for funerals in particular but for other less grim occassions as well. We visited the village outside of Kumasi where much adinkra cloth is made and got a tour of how they make it.

They make up dye to dye the fabric black. It comes from wood. The fabric gets dipped in the dye a few times a day for a month and is left to dry in the sun in between dippings......

There it is spread out to dry. On the left in the big oil drum they are making the ink they use to decorate the cloth. It comes from a bark and gets reduced down until it is a very oily thick substance.

They spread out the cloth and use the ink to draw out a grid with a comb. They will use these stamps to decorate the inside of each square on the grid:

Each stamp has a different meaning that is associated with some sort of proverb like saying.
As if the demonstration couldn't get any more exciting they let me try...........

I love getting to play with things. Here are my stamps.

I just picked them up out of the bucket and had no idea what they meant but apparently here are their meanings:

On the top right is "NYAME BIRIBI WO SORO, "God is in the heavens" or a symbol of hope. It is a reminder that God's dwelling place is in the heaven, where he can listen to all prayers."

On the middle left is "MMUSUYIDEE, "that which removes bad luck" or a symbol of good fortune and sanctity."

On the middle right is "NYAME NNWU NA MAWU, "God never dies, therefore I cannot die" or a symbol of God's omnipresence and the perpetual existence of man's spirit. This signifies the immortality of man's soul, believed to be a part of God. Because the soul rests with God after death, it cannot die."

And on the bottom left is "GYE NYAME "except for God" or a symbol of the supremacy of God. This unique and beautiful symbol is ubiquitous in Ghana. It is by far the most popular for use in decoration, a reflection on the deeply religious character of the Ghanaian people."

Hmmm, auspicious? Can you tell that the Ghanaians have a bit of a thing for god?

1 comment:

paige said...

I beg to differ. The middle left symbol is clearly the Harley Davidson logo.