African Symbols and Their Meanings Illustration

African Symbols
and Their Meanings

The Adinkra is a group of African symbols used by the people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Their meanings are linked to ancient fables and stories and famous proverbs, and are used to teach and to remind people of wisdom and knowledge. They are used in pottery, fabrics, beads, tattoos, carvings, jewelry, logos, and all kinds of art including paper art and sand art, and other crafts. Many tell a story of their own.

African Symbols and their Meanings. Here are three examples:

chief symbol means leadership

spider's web means wisdom, creativity 

sack of coco nuts means affluence, abundance, unity

Adinkra Symbols and Meanings (video from the Ocean City library)

Click here to see the 122 known Adinkra symbols. Each has a special meaning.

Here are 15 of the symbols for strength and courage.

Free Interactive Online Game: An Adinkra Symbols Game

The Meaning of Mudcloth - Fabric Designs

As powerful and as popular are the Adinkra symbols and mudcloth designs, there are other symbols of Africa. There are many countries in Africa and each has its own national flag, bird, flower, animal, and seal, just like many other countries around the world.

See Also:

The Arts of Africa

African Craft Ideas for Kids