Kente Cloth

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One of the best-known African textiles, Kente cloth, is a woven cloth made by the Asante people in Ghana. The name of the cloth itself comes from Chief Akenten, the Asante chief at the time the cloth began being produced. The main weaving center for Kente cloth today is in Bonwire, Ghana.

The cloth itself is made from several strips of cloth being sewn together. These strips are about 4 inches wide and include designs that are woven into the weft of the fabric. The warp of the fabric is typically either solid or striped, and the name for individual Kente cloths is determined by the color and pattern of stripes. The most common colors seen in Kente are red, yellow, and blue, but the Cloth is not limited to just these colors.

As you can see, the cloths at the Miami University Art Museum include orange, yellow, green, and black. Asante men wear a 5 by 8 foot cloth over their left shoulder, while the standard practice for women is to wear one cloth as a dress and a second as a shawl.

Includes information from:

Smith, Shea Clark. “Kente Cloth Motifs.” African Arts 9, no. 1 (October 1975): 36–39.

Hale, Sjarief. “Kente Cloth of Ghana.” African Arts 3, no. 3 (Spring 1970): 26–29.