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Batakari

Batakari

Akan Ghana

Many people in West Africa wear tunics made of course cotton strips woven by men, called Batakari among the Akan. They are adorned with are pendant amulets, sometimes even with horn and claws, which have been prepared by a spiritual leader and are believed capable of protecting and empowering their Akan Africna Adornmentwearers. Among the Akan they are made by Muslim charm makers and it is said that each amulet includes an inscription from the Koran (Qur’an) *(though some have been opened to reveal only powder, presumably viewed as spiritually effective), thus invoking the power of Allah to serve people who are not in fact Muslim. Some Batakari from Ghana are inscribed with writing and subdivided rectilinear patterns known as magic squares that are thought to also have magical powers.  The Islamic script is done in a pigment that is believed to have magical powers and when used to draw magical symbols it becomes more powerful, the pigment is also mixed in liquid form and ingested when extra power is needed.  The Batakari are worn by hunters, warriors, and their leaders, not only the royals, and are sometimes given libations of blood sacrifices to strengthen its power.  Batakari made particularly for Akan chiefs and kings to be worn in mourning festivities, initiation rites and other ceremonies, are adorned with sometimes hundreds of charms.  These charms are even cased in silver and gold in some situation, and attached with horn, leopard skin, and red cloth and leather.

*The sacred writings of Islam revealed by God to the prophet Muhammad during his life at Mecca and Medina.


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