Adinkra Symbols and Meanings

Adinkra translates as  "a name that sends a message" Adin means "Name" and Kra means "send a message", "send a greeting", "farewell" or "goodbye". 

Adinkra symbols were originally created by the Bono people of Gyaman. King Nana Kwadwo Agyemang Adinkra of Gyaman originally created or designed these symbols and named it after himself 'Adinkra'. The Adinkra symbols were later adopted by the Akans of the Ashanti kingdom after Nana Kwadwo Agyemang Adinkra was captured by them.

The Adinkra symbols express various themes, proverbs, concepts or aphorisms that relate to the history and beliefs of the Akan people from the Ashanti kingdom. Each symbol has a proverbial meaning that sends a message and serve as guidance to the people. Hence, people would create patterns using different kinds of symbols to relay messages.

These patterns are printed on white cotton cloths using carved calabash stamps and vegetable-based dye (boiling the bark of the Baidie tree to become the dye). 

Adinkra Symbols & Meanings

Traditionally, the Adinkra were made for and only worn by royalty and spiritual leaders for funeral rites and other very special occasions. Nowadays, Adinkra can be used by everyone and for a variety of things such as special occasions, pottery, decorations, spirituality, guidance, logos, etc, based on the meaning and purpose. 

Below are some Adinkra symbols and their meanings. 

 Kente Cloth Adinkra Symbols & MeaningKente Cloth Adinkra Symbols & MeaningKente Cloth Adinkra Symbols & MeaningKente Cloth Adinkra Symbols & Meaning




Lloyd, Kodzo. “Kente Cloth Adinkra Symbols & Meaning.” KenteClothnet, 19 Jan. 2018,