"Akofena (State Swords)" Adinkra Batik Dyed Fabric from Ghana

Artwork
Identifier:
2021.53.35
Artist:
Artist Unknown
Credit:
Gift of Barbara Paxon
Medium:
Batik Hand-dyed Cotton Fabric
Dimensions:
Artworks - Height: 46.75" Width: 117"
Description:
Orange dyed fabric with crossed sword pattern throughout. The swords are an Adinkra symbol for "Akofena" of state swords which represent authority, legitimacy, legality ro a heroic deed.
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. The swords are a symbol for "Akofena" of state swords which represent authority, legitimacy, legality ro a heroic deed.