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What are Adinkra Symbols?

Updated: Nov 25, 2023




What are Adinkra Symbols?


Adinkra symbols serve as a visual language of wisdom and values originating from the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa. The symbols are characterized by bold geometric lines and patterns that convey spirituality, philosophy, and emotion. They engender history and culture, instill communication, and provide guidance. Originating from the year 5000 bc, Adinkra philosophy became ingrained in social and political life. The 400+ symbols are traditionally narrated through well known Akan proverbs, but their utility has evolved into areas of fashion, and architecture.




Where do the symbols originate from?

Their precise origin of Adinkra symbols is unknown, however it is an ancient philosophy. One origin theory they were created by the Bono people of Gyaman, a tribe of the Akan. The King of Gyaman Nana Kwadwo Agyemang Adinkra, a powerful ruler of the 18th century, designed these symbols, naming them after himself and people of high status in the kingdom.



Adinkra inspired fashion worn by Ghanaian royals served as high fashion. It was customary for royals to wear Adinkra to represent national values whenever the chief was present. It reminded people what they stand for, and chronicled its early history. This was true at a time when societies relied primarily on oral communication. Even after writing systems were introduced, many African societies continued their oral traditions.



How are Adinkra symbols used in clothing?


The symbols are used across various art forms and in craftsmanship. Adinkra symbols are most noted on fabrics, and textile design. They can also be seen on metalwork, and pottery, or connote corporate identity through logos. Wearing Adinkra allows a connection with the values they represent, while cementing a connection to African cultural roots.



How did Adinkra inspire Adinkra Soulname?

Adinkra Soulname was created out of the desire to share Adinkra philosophy with the African diaspora. Embracing a new life abroad, our founder, who is native to Ghana, gained solace in the timeless wisdom of Adinkra symbols - a rich cultural heritage of his Akan tribe. These symbols anchored him during times of growth, and provided a sense of purpose in his newfound world. Adinkra Soulname emerged as a celebration of life’s journey and the unbreakable bond with African cultural roots.


The Adinkra Soulname afrocentric clothing designs feature the most popular symbols in their line of adult and kids t-shirts, hoodies, and gifts. You can browse their collection of designs, learn about Adinkra symbols, and even shop by the symbols that most reflect your values.







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