Adinkra cloths were previously associated with funerals and mourning, and the literal meaning of Adinkra is farewell or goodbye. The symbols were originally stamped onto cloth using a calabash stamp dipped in a dye. There are over seventy symbols which denote words, proverbs and parables, and reflect the philosophy of the Ashanti ethnic group from Ghana. Particular symbols would be selected to reflect the virtues and characteristics of the deceased.
Today Adinkra cloths are used for a wide range of social activities such as festivals, marriage, and naming ceremonies and the symbols can be seen on pottery, art, furniture, ornaments, gates, cements, jewellery, cards among others things.The Sankofa symbol is one of the more recognisable symbols. The word is formed from the Akan words "san" (return), "ko" (go), and "fa" (take). Sankofa is represented by two symbols, either a bird looking back with an egg in its mouth, or a heart shape. This symbol teaches us the wisdom of learning from the past, to build for the future.