[4] Kente cloth comes from the Asante, or Ashanti, peoples of Ghana and Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo. Symbolic meanings of the colors in African Kente cloth: Black kente cloth-- maturation, intensified spiritual energy; Blue kente cloth-- peacefulness, harmony and love; Green kente cloth-- vegetation, planting, harvesting, growth, spiritual renewal; Gold kente cloth-- royalty, wealth, high status, glory, spiritual purity; Grey kente cloth … In June 2020, Democratic Party leaders in the United States caused controversy by wearing stoles made of kente cloth to show support against systemic racism. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. It was then popularized among other tribes such as the Akyem, and the Fante. These are different from Adinkra symbols and Kente Cloth colors which also carry their own symbolism. Kente Cloth Colors denote specific meanings. clothing identified with a culture and still worn today, "Congressional Democrats criticized for wearing Kente cloth at event honoring George Floyd", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kente_cloth&oldid=999420093, Articles lacking reliable references from February 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, black: maturation, intensified spiritual energy, spirits of ancestors, passing rites, mourning, and funerals, green: vegetation, planting, harvesting, growth, spiritual renewal, gold: royalty, wealth, high status, glory, spiritual purity, grey: healing and cleansing rituals; associated with ash, maroon: the color of mother earth; associated with healing, pink: assoc. Weaving kente cloth is a cultural tradition of the Asante (also known as Ashanti) people, and these fabrics were originally used exclusively to dress kings and their courts. The cloth was, therefore viewed as one of the top quality, and the most prestigious of kente cloths, besides those woven exclusively for Asante Kings. Today we’ll look at kente cloth and create an awesome multicultural art project inspired by kente cloth. It is an iconic visual representation of the history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious belief, social values, and political thought of West Africa. Hidden Meaning Behind the Design of Kente cloth The Kente cloth itself is so special and is accorded to a great deal of respect. • black: maturation, intensified spiritual energy, spirits of ancestors, passing rites, mourning, and funerals The colors of the cloth each hold symbolism: gold = status/serenity, yellow = … … Kente cloth is closely related to Adinkra cloth, which has symbols stenciled into cloth and is associated with mourning.​. Du Bois, Black Activist and Scholar, African Iron Age - 1,000 Years of African Kingdoms, Medieval Clothing and Fabrics in the Middle Ages, A Brief History of the African Country of Liberia, Medieval Methods for Making Fabric From Wool, Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University College London. These designs replicate registered Kente designs but are often mass-produced outside of Ghana with no recognition or payment going to the Akan craftsmen and designers, which author Boatema Boateng has argued represents a significant loss of income to Ghana. Because of the intricate patterns, adweneasa cloth requires three heddles to weave.[7][8]. Meaning of the colors used in … Buy Kente … In Akan culture, the different colors and intricate patterns used in the weaving do have traditional meanings. With multicultural art projects, I believe it is important for kids to make a connection between the original art and their own art: whether it’s the materials, the process, the meaning… Kente cloth is a traditional handwoven fabric that comes from the Akan peoples of Ghana. Every now and then, a textile becomes so important that it is made part of a nation's identity. Kente cloth is a woven fabric produced by the Asante and Ewe people of Ghana. Rolls of cloth are then imprinted with a brand to signify authenticity.[6]. What do the Kente designs mean. Weavers are typically apprentice under a master weaver or company for a number of years before producing their own patterns. “Kente” comes from the Akan word “kenten”, which means “basket”, … Kente is more than just a cloth. The golden stool is not only the symbol of pride … Buy a kente stole. Biography of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, African History Expert, Biography of W.E.B. According to … Kente Cloth Color Meanings; Traditional Kente Cloth was black and white however, the colors of black, red, gold and green modern kente cloth symbolize Black represents Africa, Red … In kente cloth, colors are significant, conveying these meanings: Blue: love Green: growth and energy Yellow (gold): wealth and royalty Red: violence and anger White: goodness or victory Grey: … A tradition dating back hundreds of years, the vibrant, colorful weavings of the Kente cloth carry different levels of meaning around the world. We can think of Japanese kimonos, Egyptian linens, or Roman togas as examples. For authentic Kente, the towns of Bonwire, Sakora Wonoo, Ntonso, Safo and Adanwomase are noted for Kente weaving, and are located in the Ashanti region. The word ‘kente’ means ‘basket’. Globally, the print is used in the design of academic stoles in graduation ceremonies. Kente Cloth Adinkra Symbols & Meaning. [5] By the 17th century, during the rise of the Ashanti Empire, Kente became popularized among Akan royalty, and by the early 19th century master weavers and Kente houses could be seen throughout the Ashanti capital of Kumasi. : colorfully patterned cloth traditionally woven by hand in Ghana. Like most of Africa's visual art forms, Kente is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious … Kente is exported as one … But Kente cloth also reflects the history of the Ashanti people, from the … Although the cloths are identified primarily by the patterns found in the lengthwise (warp) threads, there is often little correlation between appearance and name. Kente Cloth in the 20th Century and Beyond. Alistair Boddy-Evans is a teacher and African history scholar with more than 25 years of experience. Women wear two shorter lengths to form a skirt and bodice. 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. A Royal Cloth Each pattern and color on a kente cloth has a unique connotation conveying some social, political, ethical, historical, philosophical, traditional or religious undertones. The designs and motifs in kente cloth are traditionally abstract, but some weavers also include words, numbers and symbols in their work. Below are the Kente Cloth Weave Patterns that you may find on Kente Cloths. Names are derived from several sources, including proverbs, historical events, important chiefs, queen mothers, and plants. Kente may have developed from a variety of weaving traditions which existed in Ghana since before the 11th century, with excavations in the region showing instruments such as spindles, whorls, and loom weights. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, The Origin and Meaning of Adinkra Symbols, Kwanzaa: 7 Principles to Honor African Heritage, What You Should Know About Kwanzaa and Why It's Celebrated. Kente Symbols Meaning Anansi. It symbolizes trickery. These are different from Adinkra symbols and Kente Cloth colors which also carry their own symbolism. with the female essence of life; a mild, gentle aspect of red, purple: assoc. In the mid-20th century, independence leaders helped popularize kente cloth, explained Dr. Patrick Mbajekwe, associate professor of history at Norfolk State University.For example, Kwame Nkrumah, who would become Ghana's first president, wore a Mmeeda kente cloth … NDiaye notes that kente cloth became especially symbolic when Ghana gained independence in 1957 and the country's president and strong proponent of Pan-africanism, Kwame … Buy Kente … For many, Kente patterns resonate as a uniquely African or West African feature. Kente Cloth Weave Patterns & Meaning. It was in the past, worn by kings and people of high … Anansi is the spider which is pivotal in the tradition and culture of Ghana. Below is a list of colors and their meanings: • Blue – peace, togetherness, love and harmony • Black - maturity, spiritual energy, … GHANA NATIONAL CLOTH - KENTE "KENTE" is a brilliantly colourful fabric, entirely hand-woven by Ghanaian weavers.The brilliant colours and intricate designs associated with Kente have definitely … To the descendants of those displaced from Africa, wearing Kente cloth … The cloth symbolizes high in value. If the king declines to take the pattern, it can be sold to the public. West African cultures have been weaving textiles for thousands of years. Although kente cloth is now identified with the Akan people in West Africa, and particularly the Asante Kingdom, the term originates with the neighboring Fante people. Ashanti folklore includes a story where weavers invented kente by seeking to replicate the patterns of Anansi the spider.[3]. Kente cloth is a hand-woven cloth that originated in Ghana (West Africa) and was primarily worn by the royalty of the Akan ethnic group. Aesthetics and Usages. This brightly colored and intricately woven textile has grown to become a symbol of West Afr… According to the University of Maine Hudson Museum, the word "Kente" means "basket" in the Asante language, and the cloth is deeply interwoven in the Asante culture of Ghana. "The significance of the Kente cloth is our African heritage," Bass said. The word kente comes from the Akan or Ashanti people. Kente cloth designs vary, with the different designs, colors, and patterns each having their own special meanings and stories. In kente cloth, colors are significant, conveying these meanings: Even today, when a new design is created, it must first be offered to the royal house. Kente Cloth Weave Patterns & Meaning. — called also kente. What Clothing Did the Ancient Egyptians Wear? Definition of kente cloth. Due to the popularity of Kente cloth patterns, Kente print, which is a mass-produced version, typically produced China, is popular throughout the West. In modern Ghana, the wearing of Kente cloth has become widespread to commemorate special occasions, with highly sought after Kente brands led by master weavers. Kente definition, a colorful fabric of Ghanaian origin: often worn as a symbol of African American pride: Thousands of vivid shirts made a sea of kente along the parade route.I hadn't realized there was so much kente cloth … Originally made from white cotton with some indigo patterning, kente cloth evolved when silk arrived with Portuguese traders in the 17th century. "And for those of you without that heritage, we're acting in solidarity. 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