Adinkra is one of the highly valued hand-printed and hand-embroidered cloths. Its origin is traced to the Asante people of Ghana and the Gyaman people of Cote' d'lvoire (Ivory Coast). However, the production and use of Adinkra have come to be more associated with the Asante people than any other group of people. Around the 19th Century, the Asante people developed their unique art of adinkra printing. Adinkra cloths were made and used exclusively by the royalty and spiritual leaders for very important sacred ceremonies and rituals.

In modern times, however, adinkra cloths are used for a wide range of social activities. In addition to its sacred usage, it is also used to make clothing for such special occasions as festivals, church-going, weddings, naming ceremonies and initiation rites. Today, designers use adinkra symbols in creating a wide range of products including clothing accessories, interior decoration, packages and book covers.

Each of the motifs that make up the corpus of adinkra symbolism has a name and meaning derived either from a proverb, a historical event, human attitude, animal behavior, plant life, forms and shapes of inanimate and man-made objects. These are graphically rendered in stylized geometric shapes. Meanings of motifs may be categorized as follows: Aesthetics, Ethics, Human Relations and Religious concepts. In its totality, adinkra symbolism is a visual representation of social thought relating to the history, philosophy and religious beliefs of the Akan peoples of Ghana and Cote' d'lvoire.

Below are some of the most commonly used symbols, their names, sources of derivation, their literal translations and their symbolic meanings. Names and meanings of the symbols are presented in Twi (the language of the Akan peoples), and translated into English. Symbols are grouped according to the sources of derivation, namely: Creatures. (Animals, Birds and Insects), Celestial Bodies, The Human Body, Man-made objects, Non-figurative shapes and Plant life. Main symbols featured here:-

AKOBEN (war horn - symbol of vigilance and wariness )
Akoben is a horn used to sound a battle cry.
TAMFOA BEBRE (the enemy will stew in his own juice)
symbol of importance of learning from the past
SESA WORUBAN (I change or transform my life)
This symbol combines two separate adinkra symbols, the "Morning Star" which can mean a new start to the day, placed inside the wheel, representing rotation or independent movement.
SANKOFA (return and get it)
symbol of importance of learning from the past
WOW FORO ADOBE (snake climbing the raffia tree)
Because of its thorns, the raffia tree is a very dangerous challenge to the snake. His ability to climb it is a model of persistence and prudence.
ODO NNYEW FIE KWAN (love never loses its way home)
symbol of the power of love
NYAME NNWU NA MAWU (God never dies, therefore I cannot die)
This signifies the immortality of man's soul, believed to be a part of God. Because the soul rests with God after death, it cannot die.
NYAME BIRIBI WO SORO (God is in the heavens)
A reminder that God's dwelling place is in the heaven, where he can listen to all prayers.
NSOROMMA (child of the heavens)
A reminder that God is the father and watches over all people.
NKYINKYIM (twistings)
symbol of initiative, dynamism and versatility
NKONSONKONSON (chain links)
A reminder to contribute to the community, that in unity lies strength
MMUSUYIDEE (that which removes bad luck)
symbol of good furtune and sanctity
MATE MASIE (what I hear, I keep)
The implied meaning of the phrase "mate masie" is "I understand". Understanding means wisdom and knowledge, but it also represents the prudence of taking into consideration what another person has said.
KINTINKANTAN (puffed up extravagance)
HYE WON HYE (that which cannot be burnt)
This symbol gets its meaning from traditional priests that were able to walk on fire without burning their feet, an inspiration to others to endure and overcome difficulties.
HWEMUDUA (measuring stick)
This symbol stresses the need to strive for the best quality, whether in production of goods or in human endeavors.
GYE NYAME (except for God)
This unique and beautiful symbol is ubiquitous in Ghana. It is by far the most popular for use in decoration, a reflection on the deeply religious character of the Ghanaian people
The Siamese crocodiles share one stomach, yet they fight over food. This popular symbol is a remind that infighting and tribalism is harmful to all who engage in it.
FIHANKRA (house-compound)
Typical of Akan (Asante) architecture, the communal housing compound has only one entrance and exit.
ESE NE TEKREMA t(he teeth and the tongue)
The teeth and the tongue play interdependent roles in the mouth. They may come into conflict, but they need to work together.
EPA (handcuffs)
symbol of slavery and captivity
DWENNIMMEN (ram's horns)
DENKYEM (crocodile)
The crocodile lives in the water, yet breathes the air, demonstrating an ability to adapt to circumstances.
DAME-DAME (name of a board game)
symbol of intelligence and ingenuity
BIN NKA BI (no one should bite the other)
This symbol cautions against provocation and strife.
AKOMA NTOSO (inked hearts)
symbol of understanding and agreement
AKOMA (the heart )
Patience & tolerance. According to Agbo, when a person is said to "have a heart in his stomach," that person is very tolerant.
AKOKONAN (the leg of a hen)
Mercy, nurturing.
The full name of this symbol translates to "The hen treads on her chicks, but she does not kill them." This represents the ideal nature of parents, being both protective and corrective. An exhortation to nurture children, but a warning not to pamper them
ADINKRAHENE (chief of adinkra symbols)
This symbol is said to have played an inspiring role in the designing of other symbols. it signifies the importance of playing a leadership role.