has it that kente fabric was first made by two friends who went
hunting in a forest and found a spider making its web. The
friends stood and watched the spider for two days then
returned home and implemented what they had seen.
cloth" is produced by the Akan people. It is a royal
and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance.
Kente was the cloth of kings. Over time, the use of kente
fabric became more widespread, however its importance has
remained and it is held in high esteem in the Akan family
and the entire country of Ghana.
Ghana, kente cloth is made by the Akan people (including the
Asante, Bono, Fante and Nzema). Kente fabric is also produced by
Akan groups in Cote d'Ivoire, like the Baoule and Anyin,
who trace their ancestry back to Ghana before the rise of
the Ashanti Empire. It is the best known of all African
textiles. Kente comes from the word kenten, which means
"basket." The Asante peoples refer to kente
Nwentoma or "woven cloth".
icon of African cultural heritage around the world, Asante
kente fabric is identified by its dazzling, multicolored patterns
of bright colors, geometric shapes and bold designs. Kente
cloth characterized by weft designs woven into every available
block of plain weave is called adweneasa. The Asante
peoples of Ghana choose kente cloths as much for their
names as their colors and patterns. Although the cloths
are identified primarily by the patterns found in the
lengthwise threads, there is often little correlation
between appearance and name. Names are derived from
several sources, including proverbs, historical events,
important chiefs, queen mothers, and plants.
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-- healing and cleansing rituals; associated with ash
Maroon kente cloth-- the color of mother earth; associated with healing
Pink kente cloth-- associated with the female essence of life; a mild, gentle aspect of red
Purple kente cloth-- associated with feminine aspects of life; usually worn by women
Red kente cloth-- political and spiritual moods; bloodshed; sacrificial rites and death.
Silver kente cloth-- serenity, purity, joy; associated with the moon
White kente cloth-- purification, sanctification rites and festive occasions
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