Kente is an Akan royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance and is the cloth of kings and nobility, before finding its way into bags, and scarves sold around the globe nowadays. Although the cloths are identified primarily by the patterns found in the lengthwise (warp) threads, there is often little correlation between appearance and name. It symbolizes trickery. Weaving is done on a wooden loom in which multiple threads of dyed fabric are pressed together. Kente cloth is closely related to Adinkra cloth, which has symbols stenciled into cloth and is associated with mourning.​. 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. My father and half-brothers were born in Ghana, and my family has shaped my understanding of kente cloth. Kente, (Akan: nwentoma ; Ewe: kete) refers to a Ghanaian and Togolese textile, made of handwoven cloth strips of silk and cotton. Buy Kente … Anansi is the spider which is pivotal in the tradition and culture of Ghana. 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 colors of the cloth each hold symbolism: gold = status/serenity, yellow = … Hidden Meaning Behind the Design of Kente cloth The Kente cloth itself is so special and is accorded to a great deal of respect. Women wear two shorter lengths to form a skirt and bodice. 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. As one of the prominent symbols of African arts and culture, Kente cloth has been embraced by the broader African diaspora (which means people of African descent wherever they might live). [2] Example messages include adweneasa, which translates as "i've exhausted my skills", is a highly decorated type of kente with weft-based patterns woven into every available block of plain weave. 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 … Kente has its own mythology—claiming the original cloth was taken from the web of a spider—and related superstitions such as no work can be started or completed on a Friday and that mistakes require an offering to be made to the loom. Kente Cloth Weave Patterns & Meaning. 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. Kente is a meaningful sartorial device, as every aspect of its aesthetic design is intended as communication. Kente Cloth Adinkra Symbols & Meaning. 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. 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. The Ghanaian Kente cloth: colorful, patterns and symbolism Meaning of the word Kente. It is an iconic visual representation of the history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious belief, social values, and political thought of West Africa. 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 is more than just a cloth. That would be kente cloth. The word kente comes from the Akan or Ashanti people. "And for those of you without that heritage, we're acting in solidarity. : colorfully patterned cloth traditionally woven by hand in Ghana. Weavers are typically apprentice under a master weaver or company for a number of years before producing their own patterns. There is a … with feminine aspects of life; usually worn by women. Designs worn by Asante royalty may not be worn by others. Similarly, the cloth designs are just as powerful cultural symbols that are the … Below are the Kente Cloth Weave Patterns that you may find on Kente Cloths. Kente Symbols Meaning Anansi. Globally, the print is used in the design of academic stoles in graduation ceremonies. Kente cloth is made from thin strips about 4 centimeters thick woven together on narrow looms, typically by men. with the female essence of life; a mild, gentle aspect of red, purple: assoc. 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. Definition of kente cloth. For many, Kente patterns resonate as a uniquely African or West African feature. So, what's the definitive textile of West Africa? Kente cloth comes from the Asante, or Ashanti, peoples of Ghana and Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo. Every now and then, a textile becomes so important that it is made part of a nation's identity. In Akan culture, the different colors and intricate patterns used in the weaving do have traditional meanings. 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. 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 … Kente Cloth in the 20th Century and Beyond. Due to the popularity of Kente cloth patterns, Kente print, which is a mass-produced version, typically produced China, is popular throughout the West. If the king declines to take the pattern, it can be sold to the public. Kente production can be classified by three versions: authentic Kente cloth made by traditional weavers, Kente print produced by brands such as Vlisco and Akosombo Textile LTD, and mass-produced Kente pattern typically produced in China for Westerners. The cloth symbolizes high in value. 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. 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. In its cultural context of use, Kente is more than just a cloth. "The significance of the Kente cloth is our African heritage," Bass said. Biography of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, African History Expert, Biography of W.E.B. Kente is a brightly colored, banded material and is the most widely known cloth produced in Africa. 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: … Ghanaians choose kente cloths as much for their names as their colors and patterns. silver: serenity, purity, joy; associated with the moon, white: purification, sanctification rites and festive occasions, yellow: preciousness, royalty, wealth, fertility, beauty, This page was last edited on 10 January 2021, at 02:10. Kente cloth designs vary, with the different designs, colors, and patterns each having their own special meanings and stories. 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 … ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. The designs and motifs in kente cloth are traditionally abstract, but some weavers also include words, numbers and symbols in their work. 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 … A tradition dating back hundreds of years, the vibrant, colorful weavings of the Kente cloth carry different levels of meaning around the world. Originally made from white cotton with some indigo patterning, kente cloth evolved when silk arrived with Portuguese traders in the 17th century. Buy Kente … Ahwepan refers to a simple design of warp stripes, created using plain weave and a single pair of heddles. Below is a list of colors and their meanings: • Blue – peace, togetherness, love and harmony • Black - maturity, spiritual energy, … Alistair Boddy-Evans is a teacher and African history scholar with more than 25 years of experience. Later, when skeins of silk became available, more sophisticated patterns were created, although the high cost of silk meant they were only available to Akan royalty. 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. According to … Because of the intricate patterns, adweneasa cloth requires three heddles to weave.[7][8]. It was then popularized among other tribes such as the Akyem, and the Fante. Aesthetics and Usages. Kente Cloth Weave Patterns & Meaning. — called also kente. 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 … These are different from Adinkra symbols and Kente Cloth colors which also carry their own symbolism. A popular legend claims creators of kente cloth presented the cloth to Asantehene … [4] On the other hand Congressional Black Caucus chair Karen Bass said, at a news conference for the introduction of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, that the white lawmakers were showing solidarity, and April Reign, who is credited with initiating the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag,[11] while not a fan of the symbolism, suggested that the legislation's fate is more relevant than the event in the Capitol's Emancipation Hall. Kente Cloth Colors denote specific meanings. Kente cloth is a woven fabric produced by the Asante and Ewe people of Ghana. The word ‘kente’ means ‘basket’. … 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. Names are derived from several sources, including proverbs, historical events, important chiefs, queen mothers, and plants. In Ghana, the Akan ethnic group refers to kente as nwentoma, meaning "woven cloth". We can think of Japanese kimonos, Egyptian linens, or Roman togas as examples. This brightly colored and intricately woven textile has grown to become a symbol of West Afr… These are different from Adinkra symbols and Kente Cloth colors which also carry their own symbolism. What Clothing Did the Ancient Egyptians Wear? Kente is exported as one … Meaning of the colors used in … 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. To the descendants of those displaced from Africa, wearing Kente cloth … [1] Historically the fabric was worn in a toga-like fashion by royalty among ethnic groups including the Ewe and Ashanti. Fabric samples were pulled apart for the silken thread, which was then woven into the kente cloth. Today we’ll look at kente cloth and create an awesome multicultural art project inspired by kente cloth. [2], Kente comes from the word kenten, which means "basket" in the Asante dialect of Akan language, referencing its basket-like pattern. 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. Ashanti folklore includes a story where weavers invented kente by seeking to replicate the patterns of Anansi the spider.[3]. [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. But Kente cloth also reflects the history of the Ashanti people, from the … • black: maturation, intensified spiritual energy, spirits of ancestors, passing rites, mourning, and funerals Kente cloth is particularly popular in the United States among African Americans and can be found on all types of clothing, accessories, and objects. West African cultures have been weaving textiles for thousands of years. “Kente” comes from the Akan word “kenten”, which means “basket”, … Kente patterns varies in complexity, with each pattern having a name or message by the weaver. What do the Kente designs mean. Buy a kente stole. red: political and spiritual moods; bloodshed; sacrificial rites and death. Like most of Africa's visual art forms, Kente is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious … Authentic Kente cloth is the most expensive, while Kente print varies in price depending on production style. Below are the Kente Cloth Weave Patterns that you may find on Kente Cloths. Kente cloth is a traditional handwoven fabric that comes from the Akan peoples of Ghana. The golden stool is not only the symbol of pride … 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 … Golden Stool. These are different from Kente Cloth Weave Patterns & Meaning. Rolls of cloth are then imprinted with a brand to signify authenticity.[6]. It was in the past, worn by kings and people of high … [10] While it was claimed to be an act of unity with African-Americans, many, including Jade Bentil, a Ghanaian-Nigerian researcher, voiced objection tweeting "My ancestors did not invent Kente cloth for them to be worn by publicity (obsessed) politicians as 'activism' in 2020". 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. 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