Nyame Nnwu na Mawu - Symbol of Immortality
100% silk twill scarf (90 x 90 cm)
Name/Theme: Nyame nnwu na mawu/immortality
Proverb: ‘Nyame nnwu na mawu’
Literal Translation: May Nyame/God die before I die or God never dies, therefore I cannot die (Rattray, 1959: 267)
Meaning: Nyame refers to God, nnwu means dies not, and na mawu means for me to die. This proverb signifies the immortality of man’s soul which is believed to be part of God’s. After death, the soul returns to God and stays perpetually because God never dies. This symbol is also used for the production of adinkra cloth and other traditional prints
Background: It is believed that the ‘Okra’ (soul) is part of God’s soul given to mankind. This gives man life; and at death, the okra which is immortal returns to God. Because the okra is part of God, it can only die when God himself is dead. However since God cannot die, the okra can also not die. Immortality is the unending existence of the soul after physical death. The doctrine of immortality is common to Asante culture; however, it takes various forms, ranging from the ultimate extinction of the soul to its final survival and the resurrection of the body by the Christians.
Moral Value: The proverb stresses the belief in life after death and the need to lead exemplary lives to attain an ancestral status after death. It encourages people to set targets for themselves and achieve them. This is a symbol of immortality or perpetual existence.
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