African Symbols and their Meanings

African Symbols and their Meanings

African Symbols which I use in my wildlife paintings.

African Symbols and their Meanings: I can’t resist a second-hand bookstore. One day I strolled into one and idly picked up a book on African symbols. I was fascinated, both at the beauty of them and their meanings. I thought that I’d like to combine them into my wildlife paintings. I’d been using arbitrary symbols in some of my dog paintings and enjoyed the effect. Better though to use symbols that had meaning. I was intrigued and ordered another book from Amazon. (Yes, it was weird ordering a book of African Symbols from the USA!) Here is an explanation of some of the symbols I use:

African symbols and their meanings

Left: Both West African Adinkra symbols, this snake-like symbol has been interpreted differently. In its twists and turns, it relates  to our ability to adapt and change. How we need to change to survive (and thrive). As a result its been associated with survival, toughness and unyieldingness. As well as the ability to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done no matter what.

Right: This symbols speaks of power that rules in all four directions, the respect for law, as well as the four elements.

African Symbols and their Meanings

Left: An Adinkra symbol meaning “perseverance,” as well as an assertive and self-confident person. It represents the seed of a certain tree that is very resistant and hard—a “hard nut to crack.” It’s one of my favorite symbols to use so you’ll see it in all of my work.

Right: This is a South African Xhosa symbol representing forgiveness. The spears have been buried underground and the quarrel forgotten.

African Symbols and their Meanings
Adinkra symbol beauty

Left: This West African Adinkra symbol represents a comb, and as such feminine beauty. Older meanings relate it to other feminine virtues such as tenderness, nurturing, caution and intuition.

Right: Commonly used in Ghana to represent perfection and quality. Many products there bare this mark.

African symbol meaning perfection