|"KENTE" is a brilliantly
colourful fabric, entirely hand-woven by Ghanaian weavers. The
brilliant colours and intricate designs associated with Kente
have definitely made this fabric the best known of all Ghanaian,
and perhaps even all West African textiles. Every design has
a story with a proverbial meaning, giving each cloth its own
Uses Of Kente
Kente cloth is usually worn for ceremonies, festivals, and other
sacred occasions. It is also given as a gift for weddings, child
naming ceremonies, graduations, and other special events.
Women wear the cloth in 2 pieces - 1 piece about 2 yards long
and 45 inches wide wrapped round the waist to form a floor-length
skirt worn over a blouse specially sewn in plain material. The
other Kente piece was either hung loosely over the arm or used
as a shawl or stole.
Men wear the cloth in much the same way as the 'Toga' was worn
by the ancient Greeks, and it would seem that these ancient
people must have been in contact centuries ago.
Traditional Way Of Wearing Kente Cloth By Both Genders
The patterns of the cloth have evolved with the rigid
standards of society itself, so one can easily say that if
Kente were taken away from Ghana, it would be like taking
the 'Kimono' away from Japan. Ghana and the Kente are culturally
The patterns are so intricate that the artist, amid a welter
of balls of cotton thread of every colour, must sometimes
snip off tiny bits to be applied over a width of about 1 centimeter,
or even one milimetre, while carefully counting the woof threads.
Obi Nkye Obi Kwan Mu Si
(o-Bee n-che o-Bee k-wahn moo see)
The name of this pattern translates into "sooner
or later one could stray into another person's path."
The meaning of this saying is that nobody is perfect and
everybody makes mistakes.
If someone happens to get in your way or does something
to offend you, it is important to be understanding and
to forgive that person.
Emaa Da (ahs-OHN-awoh ah-ahamo-no
This cloth represents "the green snake of the Asona,"
one of the seven families.The Asante social system has
seven main families. Each family has its own responsibilities
Fathia Fata Nkrumah
(Fa-THEA fah-TA n-KROH-mah)
The translation for the name of this pattern is "Fathia
is a befitting wife for Nkrumah." Fathia was a charming
Egyptian woman who married Nkrumah, the first president
of the Republic of Ghana. Their marriage was considered
special because it represented the unity of African peoples
on the continent.
Abusua Ye Dom
(AH-boo-soo-ah yeh dohm)
The name for this pattern means, "the extended family
is a force."
This cloth celebrates the extended family and its important
role in maintaining the well being of its members.
The History Of Ghanaian Kente
The history of Kente weaving extends back more than 400 years.
The word "Kente" comes from the word "kenten",
which means basket. The very first Kente weavers used raffia,
or palm leaf fibers, and wove them into a cloth that looked
like a basket.
One story about Kente says that two friends learned to weave
by observing a spider weave its web. They wove in imitation
of the spider, using raffia fibers to create a strip of fabric.
Their leaders were so impressed with this new cloth that it
became the royal cloth and was saved for special occasions.
There are more than 300 different patters of Kente cloth.
Each pattern has a name and its own meaning. The meanings
come from past events, religious beliefs, political ideas,
and social customs.
Kente Colours And Their Meanings
yolk of the egg as well as certain fruits and vegetables.
The colour is a symbol for things that are holy and precious.
|| is used
to symbolize gentle qualities such as calmness, sweetness,
||stands for blood
and for strong political and spiritual feelings.
with the colour of Earth, the mother. It represents healing
and protection from evil.
||stands for the
sky and is used to symbolize holiness, peace, harmony,
good fortune, and love.
with plants and stand for growth and good health.
||like the metal
gold, is a symbol of royalty, wealth, and spiritual purity.
white of an egg as well as the white clay that is used
in certain rituals. It stands for purity and healing.
||stands for aging
because in nature things get darker as they get older.
Black also stands for strong spiritual energy, and the
spirits of the ancestors.
which are used for spiritual cleansing.
||stands for the
moon and represents serenity, purity and joy.
is associated with Earth and with healing.