This fall, add a bit of African culture to your pumpkin carving by replacing your regular toothy grins with beautiful adinkra symbols from Ghana.
Adinkra symbols can be found throughout the West African country of Ghana. Part of the visual language of the Akan people, the symbols embody poetic messages and proverbs. They reflect the philosophy, religious beliefs, social values and culture of the Akan people. Traditionally, the symbols were printed on cloths and used to convey messages to the deceased during mourning.
Today, adinkra symbols can be found everywhere. The symbols appear on everything from pottery to fabrics to hats and company logos (Ten Thousand Villages offers soaps stamped with the adinkra double heart, which symbolizes earth’s bounty and sustenance of life). Each symbol has a unique history and cultural significance.
Pumpkin Carving and Decorating Ideas with Adinkra Symbols
Name: Double Hearts – or – The Earth Has Weight
Meaning: Providence, Nature, Sustainability
Name: Spider’s Web
Meaning: Wisdom, Creativity, Ingenuity, Complexities of Life
Name: Cola Nuts
Meaning: Abundance, Power, Creative Excellence, Togetherness, Goodwill
Name: Real Design
Meaning: Excellence, Authenticity, Genuineness
And many more adinkra designs for inspiration…
– If you would rather not freehand the designs, print the symbols or create stencils.
– Use tempera paint for more intricate symbols and a small sponge brush to fill in the designs.
– Markers can be an easy way to add color.
– And always use caution with cutting tools!
Calabash Gourd Adinkra Stamps
These adinkra stamps are created using calabash gourds in Ghana. The rounded contour of the calabash allows artisans to gradually apply designs. These stamps are used as block textile stamps to replicate adinkra patterns over a wide variety of materials. Gourds are also used by artisans to create jewelry in Peru and many, many more inventive gourd items around the world.