Hand Carved Sese Wood Bird Sculpture from West Africa, “Sankofa”

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The Sankofa symbol is often associated with the Akan proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten or it is not a taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot”. This is a symbol that illustrates the importance of learning from the past.
The symbol appears frequently in traditional Akan art, and has also been adopted as an important symbol in an African-American and African Diaspora context to represent the need to reflect on the past to build a successful future. It teaches that we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us and bring it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge. It also connotes that whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated.

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SKU: AAVA001-025 Category:

This is a hand carved Sankofa bird from Ghana, West Africa. The concept of Sankofa was derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates as “Go back and get it”. Visually and symbolically, Sankofa is represented by a mythic bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back.
The Sankofa symbol is often associated with the Akan proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten or it is not a taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot”. This is a symbol that illustrates the importance of learning from the past.
The symbol appears frequently in traditional Akan art, and has also been adopted as an important symbol in an African-American and African Diaspora context to represent the need to reflect on the past to build a successful future. It teaches that we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us and bring it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge. It also connotes that whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated.
It is one of the most widely dispersed adinkra symbols, appearing in modern jewelry, tattoos, and clothing. The sankofa bird also appears on carved wooden Akan stools, in Akan gold weights, on some ruler’s state umbrella or parasol finials and on the staff finials of some court linguists. This sculpture is made from wood and pigment.

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