"He who does not know can know from learning"
“Nea Onnim” (pictured on the right) is just one of many symbols created by the Asanti people of Ghana. These symbols are called Adinkra; they are named so after Nana Adinkra, a defeated king of Gyaman which was a former kingdom within the West African country of Cote d'Ivoire. The Asanti were given these symbols after a battle between Adinkra and Asantehene, the Ashanti king. When Andinka was defeated by Asantehene the Asanti took his symbols and stamping method of cloth as their own.
Adinkra means "goodbye" or 'farewell". The tradition has it that Nana Adinkra wore patterned cloth to express his sorrow for being defeated and taken to Kumasi, the capital of Asante. When the symbols were first introduced only high noblemen and royalty could adorn them and only for rituals and special occasions such as funerals. Andrinka symbols can now be worn by anyone. Today, Ghana is well recognized for their elaborate designs and brightly colored cloth. Each pattern includes a combination of Andikra symbols that hold proverbial meanings. The Asanti believe that searching for knowledge should be life long quest. The complete proverb goes as follows:
"Nea onnim sua a ohu; nea odwen se onim dodo no, se ogyae sua a, ketewa no koraa a onim no firi ne nsa"
"He who does not know can become knowledgeable from learning; he who thinks he knows and ceases to continue to learn will stagnate."
If you'd like to learn more about Andinkra symbols feel free to check out my shop. I fell in love with the proverbial meaning of andinkra symbols and use them as inspiration for my pieces. Provided below are links to a couple planters that have Andikra symbols incorporated into their design.
Snake Climbing the Raffia Tree
Photo Source 1: http://www.adinkrasymbols.org/nea-onnim/
Photo Source 2: http://zenmagazineafrica.com/culture/bbalp-day-3-day-4-visit-kente-weaving-market-adinkra-cloth-makers/
Photo Source 3: http://saneno.pixub.com/us-clotes-sopping/africa-gana-asante-people-kente-clot/