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Ref. : 001-2316-329969
Name/Theme: Gye Nyame/Supremacy
Meaning; ‘except God [I fear none]’ (Rattray, 1959: 267)
Proverb: ‘Abodee yi firi tete, obi nnte ase a, onim n’ahyease, obi nntena ase nnkosi nawie ye gye nyame’.
Literal Translation: ‘This creation originated from the distant past; no living person knows its beginning. No one will live till its end except God’.
Meaning: Gye means except, Nyame means God. God is regarded as the creator and ruler of the world and humanity; therefore he must be revered and worshipped.
Background: Asante religion is traditionally centred around Nyame, the supreme creator God, and his many “children”, the abosom. These were powers in nature and were served by priests. God is placed above all other lesser gods, deities and ancestors. God is the great grandfather – grandmother (Nana Nyame). Some attributes of God are Odomankoma, Oboadee – the creator. All grace giver and Onyankopon – the Great Ancestor. In certain cases, he is regarded as the over-lord of all, who should not be approached directly. Because of God’s supremacy, all requests are rooted through the lesser gods by their priests and priestesses who serve as intermediaries to him.
Moral Value: The symbol reflects the supremacy, power and dominion of God over all situations and creations. He is therefore regarded as the immortal omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. This is a symbol of the supremacy of God.
Originator: Opanin Kofi Maanu an indigene of Asante-Ntonso is believed to have adopted the symbol from a Muslim merchant (Nana Agya Bedu-2007 a Master Artisan at Ntonso). The year of its origination is unknown but it is believed to be during the reign of Nana Opoku Ware I (1719-1750).
Extract from Cultural Symbolism in Asante Traditional Textiles by ABRAHAM EKOW ASMAH
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