Ananse Ntentan icon

The meaning and philosophical significance of Ananse Ntentan

Ananse Ntentan means “spider’s web.” The spider in Akan folklore–Ananse–is crafty and creative, and always outwitting his contemporaries by fair or foul means. Ananse Ntentan is a symbol of wisdom, craftiness, creativity, and the complexities of life.

Ananse, the famous spider in Akan folktales is known for his cunning. However, in general, the spider is also respected for his creativity in weaving a web that is able to trap prey. The spider’s web is known for its strength. Indeed, a string of the web is known to be stronger and more versatile than steel of the same thickness.

When Ananse features in folk tales, he usually comes along with Ntikuma, his son, Okonore Yaa, and some other family members. Known for the cheat he is, his associates are always wary of his antics lest they fall prey to his wit.

Akan proverbs on Ananse

Ananse wo fie a yemmisa nea onwenee ntentan Wosisi Ananse a wosisi wo ho


  1. The meaning of the symbol was taken from The Adinkra Dictionary by W. Bruce Willis.
  2. The image of the symbol was taken from  

Adinkra Chart: Explore West African Symbols