MPUANNUM - Dignity
100% silk twill scarf (90 x 90 cm)
Mpuannum - Symbol of Dignity
Name/Theme: Mpuannum/Old age, Dignity
Literal Translation: ‘Five tufts of hair’ (Rattray, 1959: 265)
Meaning: ‘Mpua refers to tuft of hair, annum means five. Mpuannum, therefore, means five tufts of hair. This is a hairstyle created in such a way that there are braids or tufts of hair left on the head.
Traditionally, one’s social status especially in the royal household was symbolized by hairstyle. Most Asante royal women wear a hairstyle known as ‘dansinkran’ that leaves a distinct hairline dividing the soot-blackened head from the rest of the body. Maidservants of the queen mother kept varied hairstyles. Some of them are ‘Borodobetem’ worn by the tail switch bearers, Mpuannum also forms the centre motive in the hairstyle of the aged female stool bearers and attendants of the queen mother’s court.
Moral Value: The symbol signifies the respect accorded to the elderly because of their wisdom, wide experience, and ability to forecast and to counsel the inexperienced. This is a symbol of old age and dignity.
Extract from Cultural Symbolism in Asante Traditional Textiles by ABRAHAM EKOW ASMAH
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