Monday, December 3, 2012

KENTE CLOTH: GHANA`S ASHANTI CULTURAL HERITAGE TO THE WORLD`S FASHION CIVILIZATION



Kente is a ceremonial cloth hand-woven on a horizontal treadle loom, kente comes in strips measuring about 4 inches wide and sown together into larger pieces of cloth. It comes in variety of colours and different designs. The word "Kente" comes from the word "kenten", which means basket.
Three beautiful girls in their awesome Kente cloth

Kente Royal Cloth are very important for its rich colours and meaningful designs. Infact the premisence of the Asante Monarchy is interfered with the Kente cloth. The Kente weaver gives each piece of cloth philosophical, historical and divine name.

Kente is more than a clothing item, it is a visual representation of history philosophy, ethics, oral literature religious beliefs and political thought.
                             Fante woman dressed in Kente adorned with expensive beads

According to tradition kente is reserved for special occasion, it is not meant to be used for common place or daily activities or an ordinary wear. It can also be used as special gift item or clothing item used for rites of passage such a child naming, puberty rites invitations, graduations, marriage ceremony, soul washing, burial and ancestral remembrance ceremonies. Kente is used not only for its beauty but also for its symbolic significance. Each of the cloth has a name and a meaning, names and meanings are derived from historical events, individual achievements, proverbs, philosophical concepts, oral literature, moral values, social code of conduct, human behaviour, and certain attributes of plant and animals life.
                  Ashanti man and her daughter wearing Kente in London

Kente has achieved a tremendous international recognition and has become one of the tangible manifestations of an ever-growing sense of Pan Africanizm. Kente is more widely recognized as one of the shinning strands which make up the colourful cultural fabric of our global village.

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.

                   Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, K.B.E. wearing his special regal kente (circa 1930). Asantehene, occupant of the Golden Stool....  He is seated on one of his ceremonial chairs, the ankaahono, decorated with a gold design of sliced oranges

Historical Background

Although Kente, as we know it was developed in the 17th Century A.D. by the Ashanti people, it has it roots in a long tradition of weaving in Africa dating back to about 3000 B.C. The origin of Kente is explained with both a legend and historical accounts. A legend has it that a man named Ota Karaban and his friend Kwaku Ameyaw from the town of Bonwire (now the leading Kente weaving center in Ashanti), learned the art of weaving by observing a spider weaving its web. Taking a cue from the spider, they wove a strip of raffia fabric and later improved upon their skill. They reported their discovery to their chief Nana Bobie, who in turn reported it to the Asantehene (The Ashanti Chief) at that time. The Asantehene adopted it as a royal cloth and encouraged its development as a cloth of prestige reserved for special occasions. 

Ashanti King
 King of the Ashantis and the occupant of the Golden Stool, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II in his special regal Kente cloth. He is the only one that has this type of Kente in the world. This kente is customize and any King/sub-chief under him must not wear same as tradition and custom demands. He represent the soul of the Ashantis as a "King of Kings."

On the part of Adawomase’s historical art of weaving, it traces it source from the north Ouagadougou (now Burkina Faso) with the help of two citizens from Adawomase, namely Nana Sarkodie and Nana Amankwa. They discovered this brand of weaving technique on their usual trade mission to the north of Ouagadougou around the year 1750.
Ghana, Tribal King
    Dasebre Dr Nana Oti Boateng paramount Chief of new Juaben Traditional Area in Kente cloth

Nana Sarkodie being a good trader and a prince, decided to go back to Ouagadougou with his friend Nana Amankwa. They stayed there as long as they could and learnt the art of weaving. After staying there for so many years they returned to Adawomase with the discovery which they brought with them a piece of woven cloth which they named it “Fufutoma” the white cloth. As a result of this valuable achievement by the two sons of Adawomase, a special stool Fufutoma was created by Asantehene to signify the origin of Fufutoma designs. All occupants of the stool have special duties to perform at the Asantehene’s palace.


Queen mother in her regal Kente cloth

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. Some historians maintain that Kente is an outgrowth of various weaving traditions that existed in West Africa prior to the formation of the Ashanti Kingdom in the 17th Century. Archaeological research has dated examples of narrow-strip cloths woven in West Africa as early as the 11th Century A.D. and perhaps earlier. Some examples of woven fabrics have been found in the caves of the Bandiagara cliffs in Mali.

    Ashanti Royal girls being carried shoulder high wearing regal Kente cloth

 These cloths used in burial ceremonies, probably, during the medieval Ghana, Mali and Soghai Empires, have technical and aesthetic features similar to many of the narrow-strip cloths in many parts of West Africa. Such cloths which the Akans call "Nsaa" are important components of scared royal paraphernalia in most Akan royal courts today and are know to have been traded with articles of prestige by Akan Kings and chiefs early in the 17th Century. Many features of such cloths appear in the early and later narrow-strip cloths woven in Ashanti. Given these historical accounts, it is believed that the Ashanti craftsmen might have learned weaving skills from other peoples living North and West of them and later developed their unique style of cloth.
Queen Mothers
      Queen mothers in their rich and regal Kente cloth

While Kente Cloth may have its roots in 11th Century West African weaving traditions, weaving in Africa as a whole was developed earlier. Elsewhere in Africa, archaeological excavations have produced such weaving instruments as spindle whores and loom weights in ancient Meroe Empire which flourished between 500 B.C. and 300 A.D. in other African Civilizations in the Nile Valley such as Kemte (Egypt) and Nubia or Kush, there is an abundance of pictorial and archaeological evidence proving the existence of a weaving industry as early as 3200 B.C.

Girl wearing Kente and carrying chief`s stool

The history and invention of Kente is also a subject of controversy among the Ewes and the Ashantis in Ghana. The Ashantis have always been credited by historians the originators of Kente cloth.

The weaving workshops are hives of activity, like this one in the village of Kpetoe in eastern Ghana. The weavers are proud to be producing one of Africa's most-recognizable textiles. (Ken Maguire/GlobalPost)


The beautiful people of the Agotime traditional area in the Volta region of Ghana. Kente cloth festival in Kpetoe, September 2005.

 Even Dr Ephraim Amu, a notable historian,Nationalist and a great musicologist of Ewe extraction credit Ashanti Bonwire town as the birthplace in his great song "krohinko" that imitates the sound of Kente weaver working on the loom. 
File:Ewe kente stripes, Ghana.jpg
                                    Ewe kente cloth

However, it has also emerged that the Ewes have a long history of weaving 'Kente' cloth. According to them, in the Akan (Ashanti) wars against the Ewes, some Ewe people and weavers were captured that went to the Ashanti land to teach the Ashantis how to weave Kente . "Ke" means 'to open' in Ewe and "te" means 'to press'; the Ewe hold that the word "Kete" thus describes the weaving motion of the feet.

The multi-patterned, multi-colored kente is made in narrow strips. The weaver is is working in Kpetoe village, in Volta region side of Ghana, where the community is known for weaving kente cloth. (Ken Maguire/GlobalPost)

Materials and Techniques


    Kente weaver at work

Weaving apparatus are hand made by the weavers themselves or by others who have specialized in equipment making. A set of weaving apparatus include the loom (Kofi nsadua "a Friday-born loom") which is constructed with wood; a set of two, four or six heddles (asatia, asanan or asasia) attached to treadles with pulleys (awidle) with spools (donowa) inserted in them; shuttles (kurokurowa) with bobbins (awua) inserted in them; beaters (kyeree) and sword stick (tabon). Other supporting equipment are skein winder (fwirdie) and bobbin winder (dadabena), bobbins holder (menkomena) "I walk alone" used for holding bobbins (awua) during warp-laying (nhomatene) and the heddle-making frame (asakuntun or asadua). These apparatus, like motifs in a cloth, have symbolic meanings and are accorded a great deal of respect.

    Chiefs in their regal Kente cloth


Yarns for weaving come in a variety of forms and qualities. In the past yarns were either spun from locally grown cotton or unraveled from cotton and silk cloths imported from Europe and Asia. Today, factory made cotton, silk or spun rayon yarns are obtained from factories in Ghana and outside Ghana. Various colors of yarns may be combined in particular ways to reflect the symbolic significance of the cloth.
kente :)
 Quality of yarns used in weaving a particular cloth reflects on the level of prestige associated with the cloth. Silk yarns are usually considered the most prestigious and are therefore the most highly valued. Silk cloth, in the past were reserved for royalty and the wealthy. An average width of a strip is 4 inches. Several strips are carefully arranged and hand-sewn together (some weavers use sewing machines in recent times) to obtain a desired size. Tradition has it that Kente is woven mainly by men. Women, in the past, played a significant role by spinning raw cotton into yarns, dying yarns into desired colors, sewing strips together to form large cloths and assisting in the marketing of the cloths. Today, factory spun yarns have replaced hand-spun yarns, and therefore, the woman's role is mainly in the area of sewing strips together and marketing the cloth.


Aesthetics and Usages


                   Queen mother being assisted to put on her Kente cloth as tradition and custom demands.

In its cultural context of use, Kente is more than just a cloth. Like most of Africa's visual art forms, Kente is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, religious belief, social values and political thought. Originally, its use was reserved for their royalty and limited to special social and sacred functions. When its production increased, it became more accessible to those who could afford to buy it. However, its prestigious status was maintained, and it has continued to be associated with wealth, high social status and cultural sophistication. Today, in spite of the proliferation of both the handwoven and machine printed Kente, the authentic forms of the cloth are still regarded as a symbol of social prestige, nobility and a sense of cultural sophistication.
Ghanaian opposition leader and former Attorney General cum Foreign minister Nana Akufo Addo and his entourage in Kente cloth coming out of the church after thanksgiving service.

According to Akan traditional protocol, Kente is reserved for very important and special social or religious occasions. Originally, it was not meant to be used for commonplace daily activities or as an ordinary wear. Its use for making clothing accessories was limited to items deemed scared or special and were used only for special occasions.
                            A young Ghanaian child doing Akan Adowa dance majestically in her traditional
                             beautiful and colorful kente apparel.

 In many cases the use of Kente has a sacred intent. It may be used as a special gift item during such rites and ceremonies as child naming, puberty, graduation, marriage and soul-washing. It may also be used as a symbol of respect for the departed souls during burial rites and ancestral remembrance ceremonies. its significance as a symbol of prestige, gaiety and glamour is evident during such community celebrations as festivals and commemoration of historical events, when people proudly wear the best of their Kente Cloths to reflect the spirit of the occasion.
    Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (center) and his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton sport kente cloth on their 1998 visit to Ghana. They are standing by Ghana's former president Jerry Rawlings (L) at Accra's Independence Square. (Win McNamee/Reuters)

There are gender differences in how the cloth is worn. On average, a man's size cloth measures 24 strips ( 8 ft. wide) and 12 ft. long. men usually wear one piece wrapped around the body, leaving the right shoulder and hand uncovered, in a toga-like style. Some men wear a jumpa, a kind of collarless shirt over which the cloth is wrapped. Women may wear either one large piece or a combination of two or three pieces of varying sizes ranging from 5-12 strips (20 inches to 48 inches wide) and an average of 6 ft. long. 

These are wrapped around the body with or without a matching blouse. In some cases elderly women with high social status may wear a large piece in toga-like fashion just as men do. Within traditional societies, age, marital, and social standing may determine the size and design of cloth an individual would wear. Social changes and modern living have brought about significant changes in how Kente is used.
                         Elle Varner radiates the unabashed brilliance and boldness of the Kente cloth

Kente Symbolism


              Couples wearing Kente on their wedding

Kente is Used not only for its beauty but also for its symbolic significance. Each cloth has a name and a meaning; and each of the numerous patterns and motifs has a name and a meaning. Names and meanings are derived from historical events, individual achievements, proverbs, philosophical concepts, oral literature, moral values, social code of conduct of conduct, human behavior and certain attributes of plant and animal life. 

                      Kente wedding attire for bride and groom 


Patterns and motifs are rendered in geometric abstractions of objects associated with the intended meaning. Sometimes. some of such patterns and motifs are arbitrarily determined, and their forms have no direct structural similarities with the concepts or objects symbolized. their relationship is primarily conceptual rather than representational.
                           his 1976 photograph is of the Asante Paramount Chief of Ejisu, Nana Diko Pim III wearing a rare Asasia Oyokoman Adweneasa cloth from Ejisu, Ghana; courtesy Doran H. Ross

Patterns and motifs are generally created by weavers who also assign names and meanings to them. Forms, names and means of such patterns and motifs are sometimes given by weavers who may obtain them through dreams and during contemplative moments when they are said to be in communion with the spiritual world. Sometimes, kings and elders may ascribe names to cloths that they specially commission. Generally, names are based on the warp arrangements of the cloth, however, in some instances, both warp and weft arrangements determine a name of a cloth.
    Asante king Otumfuor Osei Tutu II being carried in palanquin wearing his special Kingly Kente which no one in Ghana nor his Ashanti Kingdom must have one.

There are over 300 different types of cloth designs, each with its name. Each cloth design comes with numerous variations-in color and distribution of motifs. This chart presents names of 54 different cloth designs, and 42 motifs, their literal meanings and their symbolic significance. Symbolism are given interpretations on the basis of the general Akan culture.

                refresh; vintage vans style #44 authentickente cloth made in usa circa 1988,new US8

Color symbolism within the Akan culture affects the aesthetics of Kente. Colors are chosen for both their visual effect and their symbolic meanings. A weaver's choice of colors for both weft and warp designs, may be dictated either by tradition or by individual aesthetic taste. There are gender differences in color preferences, dictated by tradition, individual aesthetic taste and by spirit of the occasion.

 As a convention rather than a strict code of dress, women tend to prefer cloths with background or dominant colors that are lighter or tinted, such as white, light yellow, pink, purple, light blue, light green and turquoise. Generally, men tend to prefer cloths with background or dominant colors that are on the shaded side, such as black, dark blue, dark green, maroon, dark yellow, orange and red. Social changes and modern living have, however, led some people to ignore these traditional norms, resulting in color choice based on individual taste.



Kente Samples/Designs


    Ashanti queen mother


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.
Asonawo Ahahamono Emaa Da (ahs-OHN-awoh ah-ahamo-no e-MAH da)
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 and rights.
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.



Ashanti Kente bowtie


Queen mother and her husband 

Kente Cloth Weave Patterns & Meaning

Below are the Kente Cloth Weave Patterns that you may find on Kente Cloths. These are different from Adinkra symbols which also carry their own symbolism.
Beautiful girl in traditional kente apparel
OBI
NKYE OBI KWAN MU
SI – TO ERR IS HUMAN
obinkye1.jpg (32296  bytes)
Symbol of
FORGIVENESS, CONCILIATION, TOLERANCE, PATIENCE, and FAIRNESS
From the maxim: Obi nkye obi
kwan mu si.
Literal translation: Sooner
or later one would stray into the path of the other.
To err is human, and therefore, one
should be conciliatory
when one is offended. For sooner or later one may be the offender to
the other.
OYOKOMAN
NA GYA DA MU – CRISIS IN THE OYOKO NATION

oyoko.jpg (33641 bytes)
Symbol of
INTERNAL
CONFLICTS, WARNING AGAINST INTERNAL STRIFE, NEED FOR UNITY IN
DIVERSITY, and
RECONCILIATION
This cloth name commemorates the
civil war after the death
of Osei Tutu between two factions of the Oyoko royal family. One
faction was headed by
Opoku Ware and the other by Dako.
SIKA
FRE MOGYA -
MONEY ATTRACTS  BLOOD RELATIONS

Sikafre.jpg (15690 bytes)
Symbol of FAMILY RELATIONS, RESPONSIBILITY, HARD WORK, and SHARING
From the proverb:   Sika
fre mogya.
Literal translation: Money
attracts blood relations. Or, Wealth
strengthens the family bonds.
When one succeeds, one has
responsibility to share one’s
success with one’s relatives.
In the Akan extended family system,
the attraction of
financial success to blood relations can sometimes be overwhelming.
AWIA REPUE -
RISING SUN

wiarepue.jpg (20795 bytes)
Symbol of PROGRESS, RENEWAL, DEVELOPMENT, WARMTH, VITALITY, and ENERGY
This symbol was used by the Progress
Party that ruled Ghana
from 1969 to 1972 as its party logo.
NSOROMMA  -
STARS

Symbol of
DEPENDENCY
ON GOD, HOPE, HIGH EXPECTATION, and POWER OF THE PEOPLE
From the maxim: Nyankonsoromma
na oman wo no na nnye osrane. Or, Oba
nyankonsoromma me te Nyame so na mennte me ho so.
Literal translation: The
state belongs to the people and not to the king. The
stars represent the
people and are contrasted with the moon (osrane), representing the
king. The people are
always there though kings may come and go.
The second statement translates thus: Like
the star son of
God, I depend on God not on myself.
This cloth is an example of kente
fufuo (“white” kente) in the Akan color scheme. The other color
classifications are kookoo and tuntum.
ACHIMOTA
NSAFOA – ACHIMOTA KEYS

achimota.jpg (9799 bytes)
Symbol of KNOWLEDGE, UNITY IN DIVERSITY, and HARMONY
The motif commemorates the Achimota
School and College
which was opened in 1927. The motif represents the logo of Achimota -
the black and white
keys of the piano.  One can make  melody on either the
black or white keys of
the piano, but one can make harmony by playing together both the
black and white keys of
the piano.
Achimota, which at one time or the
other comprised primary,
secondary and university programs, was very much influenced by the
Phelp-Stokes Report on
Education in Africa and the programs at the
Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes in the US.
AKOKOBAATAN
- MOTHER HEN

Akokotan.jpg (12266 bytes)
Symbol of MOTHERLINESS, PARENTAL CARE, PARENTAL DISCIPLINE, and TENDERNESS
From the proverbs:  Akoko
baatan tia ne ba so a, onku no. Also, Akoko baatan na onim dea ne
mma bedi.
Literal translation: When the
hen steps on the feet of her chicken, she does not mean to kill them.
That
is, parental admonition is not intended to harm the child, but to
correct the child.
Also, The
good mother knows
what her children will eat. A good mother does not
only feed her children
food alone, she also feeds them with love, affection, warmth,
tenderness and care.
APREMO -
CANON

apremo.jpg (16912 bytes)
Symbol of RESISTANCE AGAINST FOREIGN DOMINATION, SUPERIOR MILITARY STRATEGY
This motif represents  the
superior military strategy
with which Akan nations such as the Asante and Akwamu defeated the
Europeans who had
superior arms. An Asantehene is said to have remarked: “The white
man brought his
canon to the bush but the bush was stronger than the canon.”
BABADUA
babadua.jpg (9672 bytes)
Symbol of STRENGTH,
TOUGHNESS, RESILIENCY, POWER and SUPERIORITY
The babadua tree was used for
building fences and thatch roof frames.
In the past, before an asafo (the
militia) went to war, it is said that a pile of babadua would be
placed on top of a dug-out and a number of the asafo members
stood on the pile. If the pile did not break, that signified that
they had enough fighting
men. Babadua was used in constructing
barricades during war,
because it was particularly strong and resilient. It was also used
in house construction.
The use of this motif at the edge of
the woven cloth gives
tensile strength to the cloth and prevents unraveling or fraying.
This is a technical
innovation in Akan weaving.
AKYEM -
SHIELD

Ekyem.jpg (21741 bytes)
Symbol of BRAVERY
AND HEROIC DEEDS, GLORIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT
From the proverb: Akyem tete a
eka ne mmeramu.
Literal translation: When a
shield wears out, the framework still remains.
The good deeds of people live after them.
FA HIA
KOTWERE AGYEMAN – LEAN
YOUR POVERTY ON AGYEMAN

Fahiako.jpg (11164 bytes)
Some people have interpreted the
meaning of this motif in
such manner suggesting that there was a particular Asantehene (King
of the Asante Empire)
called Agyeman who was so benevolent that he took care of the poor.
Agyeman is an
appellation of every Asantehene, and benevolence is socially
expected of every Asantehene
Hence, the benevolence of the king is also indicated by the
expression esen
kese a ogye adidi dodoo – the big pot that feeds many.
This motif rather represents the rise
of the bureaucracy in
Asante in the 19th century.  Several men chose to serve in the
king’s court rather
than stay poor as village farmers. Very soon some of these
bureaucrats in the king’s court
became rich to the extent that some were vying for stool positions.
There is another kente cloth called wonya
wo ho
a, wonye dehyee – you
may be rich, but you are not a royal, which
puts these pretenders to the stool in their proper place.
NANKA TIRE
- PUFF ADDER’S HEAD

nankatre.jpg (12953 bytes)
Symbol
of EXPLOITATION, BEING OVER-BURDENED WITH WORK
From the proverb:  Meso
annini mentumi a, wose menkofa nanka tire mmo kahyire.
Literal translation: I cannot
even carry the python, yet you are asking me to use the puff adder’s
head as the carrying
pad.
KYEMFERE -
POTSHERD

Kyemfre1.jpg (16253 bytes)
Symbol of EXPERIENCE, KNOWLEDGE, SERVICE, ANTIQUITY, TIME, HEIRLOOM, and
RARITY
From the proverb: Kyemfere se
odaa ho akye, na onipa a onwene no nso nye den?
Literal translation: The
potsherd claims it has been around from time immemorial; what about
the potter who molded
it?
G. F. Kojo Arthur and Robert Rowe – 1998-2001

 

Symbolic Meanings of Colors

          Ghanaian community in USA wearing Kente on Ghana`s independence celebration.

YELLOW  in all its variations is associated with the yoke of the egg, ripe and edible fruits and vegetables and also with the mineral gold. In some spiritual purification rituals mashed yarn is rendered yellow with oil palm and served with eggs. It symbolizes sanctity, preciousness, royalty, wealth, spirituality, vitality and fertility.


PINK is associated with the female essence of life. It is viewed as red rendered mild and gentle, and therefore associated with tenderness, calmness, pleasantness, and sweetness. According to Akan social thought, these attributes are generally considered as essential aspects of the female essence.

The pop music king Michael Jackson crowned king in Abidjan wearing Kente cloth (Ivory Coast), 1992 

RED is associated with blood, sacrificial rites and the shedding of blood. Red-eyed mood means a sense of seriousness, readiness for a serious spiritual or political encounter. Red is therefore used as a symbol of heightened spiritual and political mood, sacrifice and struggle.

BLUE is associated with the blue sky, the abode of the Supreme Creator. it is therefore used in a variety of ways to symbolize spiritual sanctity, good fortune, peacefulness, harmony and love related ideas.
jazzyjamjumping:

My African Princess
GREEN is associated with vegetation, planting, harvesting and herbal medicine. Tender green leaves are usually used to sprinkle water during purification rituals. It symbolizes growth, vitality, fertility, prosperity, fruitfulness, abundant health and spiritual rejuvenation.
                                            couples wearing Kente


PURPLE is viewed in the same way as maroon. It is considered as earth associated with color used in rituals and healing purposes. It is also associated color used in rituals and healing purposes. It is also associated with feminine aspects of life. Purple cloths are mostly worn by females.

MAROON has a close resemblance to red-brown which is associated with the color of Mother Earth. Red-brown is usually obtained from clay and is therefore associated with healing and the power to repel malevolent spirits.

WHITE derives its symbolism from the white part of the egg and from white clay used in spiritual purification, healing, sanctification rites and festive occasions. In some situations it symbolizes contact with ancestral spirits, deities and other unknown spiritual entities such as ghosts. it is used in combination with black, green or yellow to express notion, spirituality, vitality and balance.

GREY derives its symbolism from ash. Ash is used for healing and spiritual cleansing rituals to re-create spiritual balance when spiritual blemish has occurred. It is also used in rituals for protection against malevolent spirits. Grey is therefore associated with spiritual blemish but also with spiritual cleansing.
                            Kids wearing kente

SILVER is associated with the moon which represents the female essence of life. Silver ornaments are usually worn by women and are used in the context of spiritual purification, naming ceremonies, marriage ceremonies and other community festivals. it symbolizes serenity, purity and joy.

Ghanaian child in traditional kente cloth.

GOLD derives its significance from the commercial value and social prestige associated with the precious mineral. Gold dust and gold nuggets were used as medium of exchange and for making valuable royal ornaments. It symbolizes royalty, wealth, elegance, high status, supreme quality, glory and spiritual purity.

                                   kente boys

BLACK derives its significance from the notion that new things get darker as they mature; and physical aging comes with spiritual maturity. The Akans blacken most of their ritual objects to increase their spiritual potency. Black symbolizes an intensified spiritual energy, communion with the ancestral spirits, antiquity, spiritual maturity and spiritual potency.

     Ashanti Queen mothers wearing their regal kente and dancing Adowa.

;Kwaku Ofori-Ansa, 120033. Al Rights Reserved
SOURCE:http://kente.midwesttradegroup.com/history.html

  A lady in nice Kente dress


     designer kente footwears


How to Wear Kente Cloth

Kente cloth was traditionally worn by royalty however in modern times they are worn by everyday people for special events such as weddings, naming ceremonies or funerals. Determining what kind of Kente cloth to wear depends on the event as the colors and weave patterns have meanings. First determine the message you would like to send by your choice of color and pattern and make sure it is appropriate for the event. Once you have decided on the cloth, follow these steps to wear it in the traditional manner.
How to wear Kente Cloth:
MEN (wrap as you would a Toga if the below is too complicated for you)
  1. Put yourself in the middle of the kente cloth by holding opposite ends of the cloth in each hand, with the cloth behind you, adjacent to your back.
  2. Drape the left end of the cloth over your left shoulder. The extra fabric will end up hanging on the inside.
  3. Enfold the fabric from the right side underneath the arm and across the body and place it over your left shoulder.
  4. Take the cloth that is covering the left arm and place it over the cloth on the left shoulder so both arms are now exposed and the bulk of the cloth is lying on the left shoulder. (Wrapping is quite similar to a toga style)
king
chief wearing kente
Kente for three presidents
presidents wearing kente
WOMEN
  1. Wrap the Kente Cloth around the body, underneath the arms (exposing the shoulders) and at waist or breast level. Coordinate with a solid colored blouse. You may also wrap Kente around the shoulders to wear as a shawl.
kentewomen
women wearing kente



    Kente in international fashion

    Adowa Dancers








     Chiefs and people of bonwire,home of Ashanti kente

    aww


    Nana Acheampong-Tieku appeared in kente cloth and crown after being sworn in as the Ashanti chief of metropolitan New York during the first night of a two-day ceremony in the Bronx last month. Pix: Dave Sanders for The New York Times




    Kente bag

    Kente Cloth






      chief in his Kente cloth being carried in a car-shaped palanquin





    Adowa



    Kente!

    they are beautiful









    chief

    kente, beads, beautiful girl. 




    Adowa Dance in Kente







    dance in Ghana



    krobo girls


    Asante queen mother in USA Nana Pokuaa Ababio




    PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete dons Ghanaian traditional attire (kente) as he shares a light moment with Chief Otumfuo Osei Tutu II of Ashanti Kingdom from Ghana at the State House in Dar es Salaam on Sunday. (Photo by John Lukuwi)


                  His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Asantehene visits HRH Elizabeth II

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