Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Yaba Amgborale Blay
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, there has been much academic debate over the exact origins of the symbols. The most commonly accepted legend comes from the stampers (those who ...