Adinkra wrapper - ROM2012_12525_1


Adinkra wrapper

Medium:Handprinted and embroidered cotton tabby
Geography: Kumase, Ghana
Date: 1960s
346 x 213 cm
Object number: 2011.60.1
Credit Line: Gift of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust
Not on view

The wrapper consists of 6 widths of industrial cotton tabby cloth seamed vertically. The ground is dyed orange and the printed design is in dark brown. In each width, there is a pattern repeat of four designs contained in a rectangular grid. Six different motifs include five rows of concentric circles, stacked X shapes, concentric circles with spiky outer rings, six rectangles divided into shaded triangles, large cross-hatching, and a grid with double stranded X's. Each rectangle is framed by ten black lines and the tops of the rectangles with barbed thick lines. The seams are embllished with red, yellow, green, blue, and black overstitching.

The wrapper is three metres long, and is worn in toga-style over the shoulder. The symbols encode moral injunctions and proverb; for example, the spiked circle evokes the saying "like the star, I rest with God and do not depend on myself." The wrapper would be worn by a mourner at funerals, which would be great gatherings drawing hundreds of participants for many days.

The local dyes are hand stamped on to the fabric, making it one of Africa’s rare printed cloths. It is today worn throughout the African diaspora as a sign of motherland pride.

If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.