Historians believe the Maroons derived Pangi from kente cloths and their Asante culture. In Ghana, the Akan ethnic group refers to kente as nwentoma, meaning "woven cloth". What is vital to know is the meanings that are associated with these colors, and the use of the same in the fabric. 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. Some slaves were brought across the Atlantic whiles others stayed in Africa to work in gold fields. So you must still be wondering that it is after all just a cultural symbol, something historically relevant for the people of Ghana, so what? The country that comes to mind when we are reminded of this bright-colored, woven fabric is none other than Ghana. Fascinated by the tiny creature’s natural habitat, they were much intrigued by the intricate beauty of the spider’s web. This is not the first time members of Congress have worn kente cloth in protest. The kente cloth designs are powerful cultural symbols that represent history and philosophy. 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. Majorly known for the infamous Ghanaian Kente Cloth, the country is widely acclaimed. Other than these three, many different designs may convey and representative of the message for good health, wealth, strength, and prosperity. It continued to bloom as a symbol of wealth, high social status, and association with culture. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the names of unarmed Black people who’ve recently been killed by police. 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. DESIGNS FOR WOMEN. Tutu named the cloth “kente,” meaning basket, and adopted the fabric as a royal cloth for special occasions. It was likely introduced as a time-intensive fabric produced only for royalty. SHOP NOW. The Asantehene adopted it as a royal cloth and encouraged its development as a cloth of prestige reserved for special occasions. 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. “It's complicated because there’s a lot of evidence that people from all social groups and classes were enslaved,” N'diyea told USA TODAY. The finished kente cloth with all the strips joined together. One day, they came across a spider spinning a web. Posted on May 5, 2017 January 19, 2018 Author Kodzo Lloyd. In contrast, the alternate synthetic dyes from China or Japan do fade away, reducing the quality of the fabric. 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 spider is known as Anansi, and stands for tricks and wisdom. Most weavers are men that use a wooden horizontal loom for separating and guiding the threads to take its unique shape. Kente cloth has history ranging back over 400 years. As production increased and kente cloth was more easily accessible, it became more common across all socioeconomic classes. Jul 30, 2017 - Recently I did an "Art Around the World" Unit and fell in love with Kente Cloth from Ghana. It is an iconic visualization of history, philosophy, ethics, religion, and social values. “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. 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. However, its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem with Akans. “Yesterday the Democrats wore kente scarfs and knelt down for their photo op. What exactly is the reason that makes Kente so special? Hence, it is safe to say that Kente is not only unique for its design but for both weaving and sewing as well as colors. 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 … The cloth is a symbol of royalty and is featured in festive occasions, such as graduations, throughout Ghana and the African diaspora. Almost every Ghanaian has a garment of kente cloth. The Shocking Origin, Meaning and History Of Royal Fabric. 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. Just as technology is penetrating our lifestyle more and more, many people carry a solid opinion that somehow we are moving away from our cultures and traditions. The Ghanaians use this home-made local dye as the colors produced do not fade away. "We were there for eight minutes and 46 seconds on our knees," she told reporters afterward . Kente cloth is native to the Ewe and Ashanti people of Ghana, with origins dating back to around the 12 th century, but its patterns are still worn and enjoyed all over the world. 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. 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. 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. Buy Kente Graduation Stoles. From Native beadwork to urban graffiti, students can find the 'heritage algorithms' of their interest, learn their connection to STEM principles, and develop designs of their own creation. Kente (aka Kete) is the most famous and the most celebrated of all the textiles used in Ghana. Each design is not only different visually but has its own name and significant meaning behind it that reflects its value for the Ghanaian culture. However, once the trade took off, there was no stopping as to how weavers popularized it. from a Ghanaian language, possibly Akan. The Asante supplied British and Dutch traders with slaves in exchange for firearms, which they used to expand their empire. Kente Cloth! It is a royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance and was the cloth of kings. There are manufacturers across Ghana and China that are replicating the Kente design. As you may have understood by now that the modern take on Kente has also made it affordable, so it is no longer reserved just for royalties. Meaning of the word Kente. Some of the more prevalent designs are: The first president of Ghana after independence from Britain in 1957 married an Egyptian woman for unity. The Kente cloth comes from Ghana and as a rich history and symbolism. Kente is exported as one of the key symbols of African heritage and pride in African ancestry throughout the diaspora. 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. The cloth is now universal to all tribes in Ghana and remains a national treasure and heritage. Twitter. History of Kente Cloth. Hidden Meanings. KENTE JEWELRY. The method of producing kente, called strip weaving, has existed in West Africa since the 11th century. Buy Kente Graduation Stoles. Love your kente cloth even more The history and people behind your kente cloth. Each design has a specific name and significant meaning that reflects cultural values of … Folklore Behind the Origin of the Kente Cloth. Tutu named the cloth “kente,” meaning basket, and adopted the fabric as a royal cloth for special occasions. Here, we present the history and origin of the famous kente cloth. Pinterest. 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. History states that Kente originated about 400 hundred years back around the 17th century in an accidental encounter when two friends spotted a spider, weaving its web in the forest. Word Origin for kente. Suriname, formerly Dutch Guiana, is a small nation on the northeastern coast of South America. Kente cloth designs vary, with the different designs, colors, and patterns each having their own special meanings and stories. Ghana, officially known as the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, paving with the Atlantic Ocean in the subregional area of West Africa. Facebook. Then the next step from there is the dying process. Returning home by the evening, the brothers were eager to recreate the spider’s web by their own hands. So the Ashanti legend lore goes as: “In the 17th century, there were two brothers who came from the village of Bonwire. Most Akans migrated out of the area that was Bonoman to create various states. Kente is more than just a piece of cloth. 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). Now anybody who can afford it can wear it. Below are the Kente Cloth Weave Patterns that you may find on Kente Cloths. The world entered a new decade a few months ago. The cloth became so special that the kingdom adopted it as a royal piece of clothing reserved for special occasions. Meme Status Submission Type: Image Macro Year 2020 Origin Emanciaption Hall, Washington, D.C. Kente is more than just a cloth. Kente Cloth Origins. Rep. Karen Bass, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, defended the legislators' use of kente cloth after the June 8 event. : colorfully patterned cloth traditionally woven by hand in Ghana. Kente is no ordinary cloth and is easily recognisable worldwide. Instead of the long and traditional process of Kente cloth production, the African wax fabric is readily available and cheap. Advertisements. Majorly known for the infamous Ghanaian Kente Cloth, the country is widely acclaimed. Ashanti folklore includes a story where weavers invented kente by seeking to replicate the patterns of Anansi the spider. 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. A legend has it … 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. 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. Here you can counter those stereotypes with African fractals, Appalachian quilting algorithms and 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. Kente cloth has its origin in the Ashanti kingdom, and was adopted by people in Ivory Coast and many other West African countries. 0. Suriname gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1975. 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 … One day, they came across a spider spinning a web. This makes it more affordable than the original Kente cloth that is handwoven, whereas the replica is machine printed. “This makes me wonder why they chose to wear this particular tribe's garb.”. Kente cloth, however, is defined by some very unique weaving techniques. Her name was Fatima Nkrumah, and so the design was named after the literal first lady of Ghana to represent avoidance of racism and discrimination. It is an iconic visual representation of the history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious belief, social values, and political thought of West Africa. Working around to create intricate geometric designs as the weaver continues to weave – the cloth becomes unique with every piece. According to the BBC, by the end of the 18th century, the region exported an estimated 6,000-7,000 slaves per year. "My members will attest, it's a very long time. In West Africa, however, this technique was modified for cheaper and easier production, making it availa… 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. “That is the significance of the Kente cloth. Now Kente can be seen as blankets, bedsheets, pillowcases, and placemats, etc. Every design has its own meaning. The answer lies in the fabric itself. "During the 1970s through at least the early 2000s kente cloth [became] regarded as a symbol of pride in African American identity and heritage.". 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 origin of Kente is explained with both a legend and historical accounts. Cultural Specialist and Senior Curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Diana Baird N'Diyea spoke to USA TODAY about the broader historical context and cultural significance of kente cloth. The kente cloth is a hub of vibrant and lively colors. “In the 17th century, there were two brothers who came from the village of Bonwire. Get all your original kente for all Occasions at Asante-Kente.com. It is also one of the major reasons why Kente is now a globally popular piece of clothing fabric. Brandon has not responded to USA TODAY's request for comment. ... Odo Mfampade3 Special I | Kente Cloth. Produced on a special loom, it is modified to create narrow strips of cloth. A word for word meaning for the cloth that life is not a smooth journey. So check this out, Kente cloth was worn by the Ashanti. The Kente cloth itself is so special and is accorded to a great deal of respect. A popular legend claims creators of kente cloth … The origin of kente is in the Akan empire of Bonoman. A popular legend claims creators of kente cloth presented the cloth to Asantehene Osei Tutu, the Asante kingdom’s first leader. The unmistakable blends of colored threads woven together into beautiful patterns is the hallmark of kente cloth. Historical documentation indicates textile production among the Akan and Ewe peoples began as early as 1000 B.C. The word ‘kente’ means ‘basket’. Kente cloth comes from the Asante, or Ashanti, peoples of Ghana and Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo. Shocking, isn’t it? Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the current King of the Ashanti Kingdom wearing kente Once they returned to Ghana, they started to weave the beautiful and colourful cloth excl… 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. The kente fabric is made of inter-woven silk fabric. Kente is a local cloth made in Ghana by weaving strips of cotton and silk. Kente is a brightly colored, banded material and is the most widely known cloth produced in Africa. Kente comes from the word kenten, which means "basket" in the Asante dialect of Akan language, referencing its basket-like pattern. Tutu, who lived from 1660 to 1712 or 1717, unified several small Asante kingdoms to create the Asante empire. 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.”. Rated 0 out of 5 “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. Yes, the original Kente was black and white and much mundane to people’s dismay. Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012. The Ashanti were also known as slave owners and traders. Democrats honor George Floyd with moment of silence. Kente is made in Akan and Ewe lands, in Ghana, from the historic Ashanti Kingdom and Ewe Kingdom, including the towns of Bonwire, Adanwomase, Sakora Wonoo, Agortime,Tsiame, Agbozume and Ntonso in the Kwabre areas of the Ashanti Region and Volta Region. 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