Kente Cloth Colors denote specific meanings. What do the Kente designs mean. 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 … 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. There is a … Kente is exported as one … Globally, the print is used in the design of academic stoles in graduation ceremonies. It symbolizes trickery. Because of the intricate patterns, adweneasa cloth requires three heddles to weave.[7][8]. Ashanti folklore includes a story where weavers invented kente by seeking to replicate the patterns of Anansi the spider.[3]. The Ghanaian Kente cloth: colorful, patterns and symbolism Meaning of the word Kente. 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 … 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. [4] 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. That would be kente cloth. 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. • black: maturation, intensified spiritual energy, spirits of ancestors, passing rites, mourning, and funerals Weavers are typically apprentice under a master weaver or company for a number of years before producing their own patterns. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. These are different from Kente Cloth Weave Patterns & Meaning. My father and half-brothers were born in Ghana, and my family has shaped my understanding of kente cloth. Below are the Kente Cloth Weave Patterns that you may find on Kente Cloths. Although the cloths are identified primarily by the patterns found in the lengthwise (warp) threads, there is often little correlation between appearance and name. with the female essence of life; a mild, gentle aspect of red, purple: assoc. The colors of the cloth each hold symbolism: gold = status/serenity, yellow = … Ghanaians choose kente cloths as much for their names as their colors and patterns. 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. A popular legend claims creators of kente cloth presented the cloth to Asantehene … 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. [2], Kente comes from the word kenten, which means "basket" in the Asante dialect of Akan language, referencing its basket-like pattern. The word ‘kente’ means ‘basket’. Fabric samples were pulled apart for the silken thread, which was then woven into the kente cloth. These are different from Adinkra symbols and Kente Cloth colors which also carry their own symbolism. Hidden Meaning Behind the Design of Kente cloth The Kente cloth itself is so special and is accorded to a great deal of respect. … 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 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 … Kente is more than just a cloth. 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. 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 … Today we’ll look at kente cloth and create an awesome multicultural art project inspired by kente cloth. What Clothing Did the Ancient Egyptians Wear? 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… West African cultures have been weaving textiles for thousands of years. Kente Cloth Weave Patterns & Meaning. Below is a list of colors and their meanings: • Blue – peace, togetherness, love and harmony • Black - maturity, spiritual energy, … Kente cloth is a traditional handwoven fabric that comes from the Akan peoples of Ghana. [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". 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: … 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). 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. Buy a kente stole. 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. Due to the popularity of Kente cloth patterns, Kente print, which is a mass-produced version, typically produced China, is popular throughout the West. Buy Kente … 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 … Women wear two shorter lengths to form a skirt and bodice. Weaving is done on a wooden loom in which multiple threads of dyed fabric are pressed together. Kente cloth designs vary, with the different designs, colors, and patterns each having their own special meanings and stories. It was then popularized among other tribes such as the Akyem, and the Fante. "And for those of you without that heritage, we're acting in solidarity. Below are the meanings of Adinkra symbols that you may find on Kente Cloths. Designs worn by Asante royalty may not be worn by others. The cloth symbolizes high in value. red: political and spiritual moods; bloodshed; sacrificial rites and death. Meaning of the colors used in … Kente patterns varies in complexity, with each pattern having a name or message by the weaver. Aesthetics and Usages. Kente cloth is made from thin strips about 4 centimeters thick woven together on narrow looms, typically by men. Rolls of cloth are then imprinted with a brand to signify authenticity.[6]. [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. So, what's the definitive textile of West Africa? 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. 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 is a meaningful sartorial device, as every aspect of its aesthetic design is intended as communication. Kente Cloth in the 20th Century and Beyond. Similarly, the cloth designs are just as powerful cultural symbols that are the … Kente cloth is closely related to Adinkra cloth, which has symbols stenciled into cloth and is associated with mourning.​. In Akan culture, the different colors and intricate patterns used in the weaving do have traditional meanings. “Kente” comes from the Akan word “kenten”, which means “basket”, … It is an iconic visual representation of the history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious belief, social values, and political thought of West Africa. Every now and then, a textile becomes so important that it is made part of a nation's identity. These are different from Adinkra symbols and Kente Cloth colors which also carry their own symbolism. [1] Historically the fabric was worn in a toga-like fashion by royalty among ethnic groups including the Ewe and Ashanti. Alistair Boddy-Evans is a teacher and African history scholar with more than 25 years of experience. 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. with feminine aspects of life; usually worn by women. Originally made from white cotton with some indigo patterning, kente cloth evolved when silk arrived with Portuguese traders in the 17th century. 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. Below are the Kente Cloth Weave Patterns that you may find on Kente Cloths. Kente cloth comes from the Asante, or Ashanti, peoples of Ghana and Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo. A tradition dating back hundreds of years, the vibrant, colorful weavings of the Kente cloth carry different levels of meaning around the world. 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