Today, kente cloth is recognized as the most well-known African textile. In the United States, kente patterns are popularly worn as graduation stoles by Black students.
What does African kente cloth represent?
Kente is a meaningful sartorial device, as every aspect of its aesthetic design is intended as communication. The colors of the cloth each hold symbolism: gold = status/serenity, yellow = fertility, green = renewal, blue = pure spirit/harmony, red = passion, black = union with ancestors/spiritual awareness.
Who wore the kente cloth in Africa?
Kente cloth, the traditional or national cloth of Ghana, is worn by most southern Ghanaian ethnic groups including the Akan, the Ga, and the Ewe.
Is Kente cloth sacred?
It is an Akan royal and sacred cloth traditionally worn only in times of extreme importance and was the cloth of kings. Over time, the use of kente became more widespread. However, its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem with Akans.
Why is kente cloth so special?
Originally, the use of kente was reserved for Asante royalty and limited to special social and sacred functions. Even as production has increased and kente has become more accessible to those outside the royal court, it continues to be associated with wealth, high social status, and cultural sophistication.
What is the story behind Kente cloth?
According to NDiaye, the colorful patterned fabrics known as kente can be traced back to the Asante people of the Akan kingdom in what is now Ghana. The word “kente” actually translates to “handwoven cloth” in the Twi language of the Akan people.
What is the history of Kente cloth?
Kente cloth comes from a textile practice that originated in Ghana centuries ago. The fabric has come to symbolize cultural affiliations from West Africa across the diaspora, but legend has it that a spider spinning a complex web inspired the earliest kente techniques and designs.
Where did kente originated from?
Kente cloth originates from West Africa whereas African print fabric (commonly known as ‘ankara’ in West Africa and ‘kitenge’ in East Africa) was first produced in Indonesia.
What does kente cloth look like?
Kente cloth is made from thin strips about 4 centimeters thick woven together on narrow looms, typically by men. The strips are interlaced to form a fabric that is usually worn wrapped around the shoulders and waist like a toga: The garment is also known as kente.
What did slaves wear?
The majority of slaves probably wore plain unblackened sturdy leather shoes without buckles. Female slaves also wore jackets or waistcoats that consisted of a short fitted bodice that closed in the front.
What are the traditional kente cloth colors?
What do the colors in the kente cloth mean?
- Black, the most significant and incorporated color of Kente, represents spiritual strength and maturity.
- Red symbolizes blood, and political passion and strength.
- Blue stands for peace, love, and harmony.
- Gold or Yellow represents wealth and royalty.
What do African patterns mean?
A major form of expression, African patterns are popular as a means of personal adornment and a medium of communication. These exquisite textiles give wearers and admirers insight into social, religious, and political African contexts in an abstract and approachable way.
What geometric figure is more dominant in a Kente cloth?
Kente cloth is characterized by sharply defined shapes created by the technique of loom weaving. It is easier to weave geometric than organic shapes, so rectangles, diamonds, zigzags, and squares are predominant.
What is the African shawl called?
The dashiki is a colorful garment worn mostly in West Africa. It is called Kitenge in East Africa and has been a dominant wear in Tanzania and later Kenya and Somalia. It covers the top half of the body.
Who brought Kente to Ghana?
The origins of the Kente cloth go back 400 years to West Africa, in what is now modern day Ghana. While its invention is often attributed to the people of the Ashanti Tribe, the Kente cloth may have instead been invented by the people in the Ewe Tribe, who later shared the tradition with the Ashanti.