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.
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 origin of kente cloth?
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.
Is Kente cloth sacred?
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.
What is represented by the unique patterns found on Kente cloth?
The predominant use of intricately textured patterns in yellows, orange and reds replicate the visual characteristics of gold dust. The cloth symbolizes WEALTH, ROYALTY, ELEGANCE, SPIRITUAL PURITY and HONORABLE ACHIEVEMENT. Literally means “the extended family is a force.”
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 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.
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.
Who invented the 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.
Who brought Kente to Ghana?
The method of producing kente, called strip weaving, has existed in West Africa since the 11th century. In 1697, the King of the Ashanti Kingdom, Osei Tutu, selected several weavers from nearby towns and villages to travel to neighbouring Ivory Coast to become experts in the complex art form.
How do you wear kente?
There is an art to wearing kente. To wear kente properly, it must be worn so that the woven patterned strips are straight horizontally and vertically. In addition, the bottom edge of the cloth should be even all the way around.
What does the name kente mean?
Summary. Kente is a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips and is native to the Akan tribe in Ghana. … Kente comes from the word kenten, which means basket in Akan dialect Asante. Akans refer to kente as nwentoma, meaning woven cloth.
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 a Kente pattern?
A tell-tale identifier of kente cloth is its vertical strips of fabric, which are typically four inches wide. These strips are then cut and sewn together to create larger swaths which can be worn on the body. By placing blocks of pattern next to one another, a meaning for the whole piece emerges.
What are the main colors used in kente cloth?
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.
- Green means growth, harvest, and renewal.
How many patterns of Kente cloth are there?
The patterns (and there are more than 300 patterns), created by the brightly colored threads, often represent common motifs, religious beliefs, and political commentary.