Adinkrahene icon


Adinkrahene means “King of the Adinkra symbols.” It is a symbol for authority, leadership, and charisma.

Pronunciation of Adinkrahene


The etymology of Adinkrahene is Adinkra + ɔhene, literally “Adinkra king” or “king of the Adinkras.” This symbol is reportedly the inspiration of the design of the other symbols. The elegant figure with three concentric circles is easy to draw and its abstract form connotes the importance of ideas and concepts, which are the essence of Adinkra–they are visual representations of important concepts in Akan philosophy.

Does Adinkrahene represent anything physical?

I like Adinkrahene for its simplicity and elegance but one wonders if its seemingly abstract form could have been inspired by more concrete objects or phenomena such as could occur in nature. As many Adinkra symbols have such origins, such speculation should be welcome.

Adinkrahene from ripples of water
Concentric circles from a drop of water. Could this be the inspiration for Adinkrahene?
Source: Life Is Color/Public Domain

Eglash, Bennett, Lachney, and Bulley observe that the idea for Adinkrahene may have come from the patterns made by ripples of water.

Adinkrahene in logos

Because of the highly desirable virtues Adinkrahene represents, I was expecting to find it in a lot more logos than I found. What could explain this dearth of usage? Could it be because the symbol is considered too simple and its meaning cannot be easily discerned from its representation?

Adinkrahene on Ashesi University's seal
The seal of Ashesi University, featuring Adinkrahene, a symbol of excellence

Ashesi University, a private university in Ghana, uses Adinkrahene in its seal. The seal prominently features Ashesi’s logo in the middle of two concentric circles which form the rim. On the right side of the rim is Adinkrahene, which, for them, means “highest, best, or king,” and is a symbol of excellence.

Akan proverbs on kings (ahene)

1. Ɔhene sua sɛ dɛn koraa a, baakofoɔ nsoa no

Literally: No matter how small a king is, he is not carried by one person.

2. Nea ɔpɛ sɛ obedi hene daakye no firi aseɛ sua som ansa

Literally: He who wants to become king in the future begins by learning how to serve.

More Adinkra Symbols

Gye Nyame icon Sankofa icon Sankofa icon Adinkrahene icon Dwennimmen icon Funtumfunefu Denkyemfunefu icon Nkyinkyim icon Odo Nnyew Fie Kwan icon Denkyem icon Aban icon Abe Dua icon Adwo icon Agyindawuru icon Akoben icon Akofena icon Akoko Nan icon Akoma Ntoaso icon Akoma icon Ananse Ntentan icon Ani Bere A Enso Gya icon Asase Ye Duru icon Aya icon Bese Saka icon Bi Nka Bi icon Dame-Dame icon Dono Ntoaso icon Dono icon Duafe icon Eban icon Epa icon Ese ne Tekrema icon Fafanto icon Fihankra icon Fofo icon Gyawu Atiko icon Hwehwemudua icon Hye Wo Nhye icon Kramo Bone Amma Yeanhu Kramo Pa icon Kuronti ne Akwamu icon Kwatakye Atiko icon Mako icon Menso Wo Kenten icon Mframadan icon Mmere Dane icon Mpatapo icon Mpuannum icon Nea Onnim icon Nkonsonkonson icon Nsaa icon Nsoromma icon Nteasee icon Nyame Biribi Wo Soro icon Nyame Dua icon Nyame Nwu Na Mawu icon Okuafo Pa icon Osram ne Nsoromma icon Owuo Atwedee icon Sepow icon Tamfo Bebre icon UAC Nkanea icon Wawa Aba icon Woforo Dua Pa A icon