The Adinkra Dictionary: A Visual Primer on The Language of ADINKRA
Product DescriptionBy W. Bruce Willis - new book/slight shelfwear - out of print
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Adinkra is the name given the colorful, hand-painted and hand-embroidered cloth used for mourning by the Akan people of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. Stylistic symbols called "adinkra symbols" are printed on these cloths. The cloth and symbols express the wearer's feelings and sentiment about the desceased. The symbols convey a parting message to that individual. When a person wears this type of clothing, one knows that the person is in mourning.
ADINKRA is an Akan word. Akan is the language of the Akan people, who comprise about one-half of the population of Ghana. Adinkra literally means "saying good-bye (farewell) to the dead." Adinkra implies a philosophical message that one conveys when mourning during a funeral or the post-burial memorial.
ADINKRA constitutes a "system" of verbal and visual imagery. Adinkra symbols are figurative and stylized geometric images that embody poetic messages, proverbs, or aphorisms. Some of the symbols express the legendary history of the Akan people, and others are cultural metaphors and aphorisms about myths, legends, beliefs, and rituals. They contain multilayered meanings and profound truths. They provide a framework of moral virtues and lessons for the good life. They epitomize the Akan world view and their quest for truth and righteousness in the world.