Most Akans migrated out of the area that was Bonoman to create various states. Folklore Behind the Origin of the Kente Cloth. Many Boomer parents would argue that their millennial sons and daughters don’t know much about their roots and traditional norms or the past that shaped them. Kente cloth is known as nwentoma (meaning woven cloth) in Akan language, and is a type of silk, cotton, or rayon fabric made of interwoven cloth strips which is native to the Akan/Ashanti ethnic group of Southern Ghana (and also Cote d’Ivoire). 0. See more. There are 20 designs featured here and each design's meaning is included as well. History of Kente Cloth. It is also one of the major reasons why Kente is now a globally popular piece of clothing fabric. The Ultimate History Project has pointed to the Pangi cloth woven by the Maroon people of Suriname as evidence of kente’s cultural significance beyond slave traders. The Asante supplied British and Dutch traders with slaves in exchange for firearms, which they used to expand their empire. “When Africans were kidnapped and brought to this country, they were told they didn’t have a history, they didn’t have a tradition,” N’Diyea said. Tutu named the cloth “kente,” meaning basket, and adopted the fabric as a royal cloth for special occasions. Hence, it is safe to say that the design became one of the legendary designs on the Kente fabric. In the days since, social media users have pointed out the cloth’s historical ties to the slave trade in order to criticize the legislators’ garment choice. In the Facebook post, Brandon acknowledges kente cloth’s historical ties to the slave trade; however, he ignores the broader cultural significance the cloth has to West African and African American culture. Kente cloth comes from the Asante, or Ashanti, peoples of Ghana and Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo. Amongst the many different types of raw material available locally, for production of the best export quality of the fabric, Kente uses the following raw material: The usual way by which the villagers have sworn to is hand spinning the thread. Nancy Pelosi named George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and more before kneeling for a moment of silence that lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds. As the villagers who perform the spinning find their hands to be more in tune with the spinning than a spinning cone, they agree that it is easier to control the cloth design. In Ghana, the Akan ethnic group refers to kente as nwentoma, meaning "woven cloth". It is safe to say that like the ten years that went by, the upcoming ten years will be the game changer in every aspect of our life from lifestyle to travelling and much more. Although upon the research, you would find several stories that describe the origin of the Kente cloth, yet the recurring theme revolves around the Akan ethnic group from the Ashanti region of Ghana. 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. Today, kente cloth is recognized as the most well-known African textile. The new discovery was so fascinating to the nearby villagers just like the spider’s web had been to the brothers, that they shared this story with the then ruler of the Asante Kingdom. the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art explains, wore kente cloth to the State of the Union address, honor the 400-year anniversary of the first Africans brought to the colonies, USA TODAY, "Democrats unveil sweeping police reform bill, honor George Floyd with 8 minutes, 46 seconds of silence", Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, "Wrapped in Pride", Khan Academy, "Kente cloth (Asante and Ewe peoples)", PBS, "The Slave Kingdoms, Wonders: Ashanti Kingdom", Ultimate History Project, "Kente: Not just any Old Cloth", The Central Intelligence Agency, "The World Factbook: Suriname", The Today Show, "Democrats criticized for wearing Kente cloth stoles in honor of George Floyd", USA TODAY, "State of the Union: Black lawmakers wear kente cloth to protest Trump's vulgar comment on Africa", USA TODAY, "John Lewis, Karen Bass, Nancy Pelosi remember 1619 anniversary, cost of slavery during Capitol ceremony", Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. 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. A legend has it … Pinterest. The cloth is now universal to all tribes in Ghana and remains a national treasure and heritage. The Asantehene adopted it as a royal cloth and encouraged its development as a cloth of prestige reserved for special occasions. Below given is a comprehensive list of some of the most commonly used colors in kente fabric. The Ghanaians use this home-made local dye as the colors produced do not fade away. 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 in all of Manhattan. But Kente cloth also reflects the history of the Ashanti people, from the emergence of the various Ashanti kingdoms to the development of the slave trade up to and including contemporary life in Ghana. It’s hand made wooven process is what makes it rare and expensive. The finished kente cloth with all the strips joined together. This makes it more affordable than the original Kente cloth that is handwoven, whereas the replica is machine printed. Get all your Original Kente for all occasions at Asante-Kente.com. Although upon the research, you would find several stories that describe the origin of the Kente cloth, yet the recurring theme revolves around the Akan ethnic group from the Ashanti region of Ghana. My father and half-brothers were born in Ghana, and my family has shaped my understanding of kente cloth. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus wore kente cloths in September to honor the 400-year anniversary of the first Africans brought to the colonies. By. Nana Tamakloe - November 23, 2014. These are different from Adinkra symbols and Kente Cloth colors which also carry their own symbolism. among the Akan and Ewe peoples of Western African in modern-day Ghana and … The Kente cloth comes from Ghana and as a rich history and symbolism. 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. The origin of Kente is explained with both a legend and historical accounts. We rate the claim that kente cloth was historically worn by the Asante people of Ghana, who were involved in the West African slave trade TRUE because it is supported by our research. Kente cloth has its origin with the Ewes of the Volta region of Ghana, and was adopted by the Akan people. Rep. Karen Bass, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, defended the legislators' use of kente cloth after the June 8 event. This type of cloth is made particularly by two ethnic groups (a tribe of people who trace their ancestry to one particular place of origin from the past and personality) which are the Ashanti and Ewe kingdoms. So the Ashanti legend lore goes as: “In the 17th century, there were two brothers who came from the village of Bonwire. On June 8, Democratic members of Congress wearing kente cloths and face masks knelt in Emancipation Hall to memorialize Black lives lost to police brutality. The world entered a new decade a few months ago. Over time, the use of kente became more widespread. “My way of thinking about it is that it honors the creativity, the ingenuity, the skill of the people who actually make the kente," she said. ... Odo Mfampade3 Special I | Kente Cloth. The dye that is used to change the color of the threads is also a local for Ghana as it can be made by grinding the bark and leaves of the local trees. What is vital to know is the meanings that are associated with these colors, and the use of the same in the fabric. The Asantehene adopted it as a royal cloth and encouraged its development as a cloth of prestige reserved for special occasions. Kente cloth has history ranging back over 400 years. The kente cloth designs are powerful cultural symbols that represent history and philosophy. A popular legend claims creators of kente cloth presented the cloth to Asantehene Osei Tutu, the Asante kingdom's first leader. Get all your original kente for all Occasions at Asante-Kente.com. Posted on May 5, 2017 January 19, 2018 Author Kodzo Lloyd. But Kente cloth also reflects the history of the Ashanti people, from the emergence of the various Ashanti kingdoms to the development of the slave trade up to … A popular legend claims creators of kente cloth presented the cloth to Asantehene Osei Tutu, the Asante kingdom’s first leader. Kente is a local cloth made in Ghana by weaving strips of cotton and silk. The Kente cloth itself is so special and is accorded to a great deal of respect. Once the weaver has enough number of long, narrow, and unique strips, the strips are then sewn together to make a full-sized clothing piece. Kente cloth is made of narrow woven strips of about 8 or 9 cm that are sewn together lengthways to form a wider cloth. In contrast, the alternate synthetic dyes from China or Japan do fade away, reducing the quality of the fabric. Brandon has not responded to USA TODAY's request for comment. However, its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem with Akans. These are different from Adinkra symbols and Kente Cloth colors which also carry their own symbolism. Other than these three, many different designs may convey and representative of the message for good health, wealth, strength, and prosperity. Some slaves were brought across the Atlantic whiles others stayed in Africa to work in gold fields. Tutu named the cloth “kente,” meaning basket, and adopted the fabric as a royal cloth for special occasions. Now Kente can be seen as blankets, bedsheets, pillowcases, and placemats, etc. The word ‘kente’ means ‘basket’. It is an Akan royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance and was the cloth of kings. The Kingdom of Ashanti royalty (currently prevalent throughout Asanteman) – “Kente, known as nwentoma in Akan, is a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth.” Originally as it was reserved for the royalty, the cloth was restricted to being made how it came into being. It is an iconic visual representation of the history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious belief, social values, and political thought of West Africa. Kente is a local cloth made in Ghana by weaving strips of cotton and silk. Although you might now know the name, the kente cloth is used globally. Given the two possible origin accounts, it seems more plausible that kente cloth originated with the Ewe tribe. After President Donald Trump called some African nations “shithole countries” in 2018 members of the Congressional Black Caucus wore kente cloth to the State of the Union address. Here you can counter those stereotypes with African fractals, Appalachian quilting algorithms and more. “In the 17th century, there were two brothers who came from the village of Bonwire. But with time as the weavers started producing a range of bright colors to be incorporated and the cloth became more celebratory in its nature, mass production and adoption as a cultural symbol, more and more colors were integrated that can be seen used today. Historians believe the Maroons derived Pangi from kente cloths and their Asante culture. Kente is a brightly colored, banded material and is the most widely known cloth produced in Africa. He is credited with expanding the Asante throughout most of Ghana and introducing his subjects to the gold and slave trades along the West African coast. Majorly known for the infamous Ghanaian Kente Cloth, the country is widely acclaimed. Now anybody who can afford it can wear it. The watch color codes – The top four colors to choose from, When Changing Your Company’s Culture, Celebrate Small Wins, London’s African fashion event set to be bigger than ever, Use your mentor mindset to create a culture of growth, The African Development Bank and its partners want your ideas for beating the COVID-19 pandemic, The Threat to the World’s Poorest - Coronavirus. Google is great, but it's not a miracle worker. Historical accounts trace the origin of Kente weaving to early weaving traditions in ancient West African Kingdoms that flourished between 300 A.D. and 1600 A.D. Love your kente cloth even more The history and people behind your kente cloth. Origin. It is a product of love and power, and no matter what story is the original one for the creation of Kente, one thing is for sure that the next time you see a spider’s web, you would inevitably be reminded of Kente. Fashion designers across borders have now embraced Kente and experimented with both the woven as well as the print version of the cloth, making it more widely acclaimed for other uses than just attire. According to the BBC, by the end of the 18th century, the region exported an estimated 6,000-7,000 slaves per year. The origin of kente is in the Akan empire of Bonoman. Suriname gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1975. 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 … Origin of Kente The origin of Kente cloth is explained partly with a legend and partly with historical account, coming from two important towns in Asante Region of Ghana, namely Bonwire and Adawomase. Kente cloth comes from the Asante, or Ashanti, peoples of Ghana and Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo. Obviously, Kente cloth doesn't come from Wakanda — Black Panthers do. Kente Cloth Weave Patterns & Meaning. Ewe kente cloth (detail), 1920-40, Ghana, cotton, 339 x 198 cm (The British Museum) Historians maintain that kente cloth grew out of various weaving traditions that existed in West Africa prior to the formation of the Asante Kingdom. Kente is no ordinary cloth and is easily recognisable worldwide. Word Origin for kente. Kente cloth as we know it today with its rich bold colors emerged among the Asante during the seventeenth century A.D., as Chief Oti Akenten (from whose name Kente derives – “basket” in Twi) established trade routes from the Middle and Far East bringing into the Asante Empire … Kente is exported as one of the key symbols of African heritage and pride in African ancestry throughout the diaspora. SHOP NOW. Almost every Ghanaian has a garment of kente cloth. Centuries-Old Anlo/Ewe - Asante Relationship: It is the art and technique of the weaver’s hands that creates the long strips of fabric that measure up to four inches wide. Fashion is one such industry that stems from the past. But as the production increased and more people became accessible to the cloth that they could trade it, Kente became a royal mascot for Ghana and has been known especially ever since.”. Working around to create intricate geometric designs as the weaver continues to weave – the cloth becomes unique with every piece. The cloth became so special that the kingdom adopted it as a royal piece of clothing reserved for special occasions. Rated 0 out of 5 The Ashanti were also known as slave owners and traders. Many other traditional norms associated with the production of Kente like hand spinning and weaving and not cutting the cloth has also been dropped. Kente cloth sheets are assembled out of sewing together long strips or bands of fabric, each 6”-10” wide. There are manufacturers across Ghana and China that are replicating the Kente design. Returning home by the evening, the brothers were eager to recreate the spider’s web by their own hands. The origin of Kente cloth is explained partly with a legend and partly with historical account, coming from two important towns in Asante Region of Ghana, namely Bonwire and Adawomase. 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