Adinkra Cloth from Asante, Ghana

Artist Unknown
Gift of Barbara Paxon
Handsewn, Handstamped Cotton Cloth with Silk Embroidery
circa 1980
Artworks - Height: 133" Width: 91"
White cotton cloth strips joined together with colorful silk embroidery in yellow, red, green, blue and black. The fabric is hand-stamped with a large variety of designs.
Historical Context:
Adinkra cloth is a hand-printed fabric made in Ghana. Developed by the Ashanti people, Adinkra cloths were traditionally made for royalty to wear at religious ceremonies. Through the years, people have also decorated the cloths to tell a story or to express themselves. Adinkra cloth is stamped and patterned with traditional Ashanti symbols. Each symbol has its own meaning. People in Ghana decorate the cloth by using a black dye made of bark. This dye is called Adinkera aduru, and it is what gives the cloth its name. Using the dye, they draw lines on the cloth to divide it into squares. Next, they carve symbols into calabash gourds, press the gourds into the dye, and stamp the symbols onto the fabric.