The use of Asante Linguist Staff symbols in textile design

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The purpose of this study was to find out how viable it would be to use traditional symbols with special reference to Asante linguist staff symbols in creating surface textile designs to widen the scope of their application and significance. Most traditional symbols are not popular in usage; hence their philosophical meanings are not understood by many. The study explored the feasibilities of developing textile designs from symbols of Asante linguist staff tops and using the meanings or names of the symbols for the generated designs as a means of making people understand and appreciate the significance of these symbols. As an art studio base experimental study, it employs Adobe Photoshop 7.0, computer graphics software that aids easy manipulation of images for textile designs. Purposive research sampling method was used to gather data from linguists and traditional wood carvers. Sourced images of the symbols were used to produce a number of textile designs of high aesthetic values and which were named in accordance with the name of the symbols to bring out their philosophical and social significance. This project contains images of some Asante linguist staff symbols and highlights on the proverbial, philosophical, aesthetics and social significance of the symbols. The study therefore, xvii expands the scope of the knowledge on Asante traditional symbolism and application. The research is based on the qualitative research approach and makes use of the experimental and descriptive methods of research. Observation and unstructured interview were the main instruments used for data collection. The study revealed that, Asante linguist staff finials provide a collection of motifs, each with its own unique form that can broaden aesthetic values of designs. It also came to light that the linguist staffs have surface textures nicely engraved on them which provide special texturing effects for textile designs. It was concluded that linguist staff finials can provide an array of motifs for designing textiles which can be exploited, and with the aid of relevant computer aided software designs of precision can be made. By doing so, it is recommended that designers should expose these cultural artifacts through textile designs for people to be able to identify them.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies,Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Fine Art (Textile Design)