BHM ToP THIS: Kente Cloth

We've all seen Kente cloth at least once in our lives, but have you ever wondered what it all means. The vibrant colors and intricate patterns all have a purpose in relaying an aesthetic message to its viewers. I looked up some history on this beautiful West African art. Class is now in session, let Ms. King school ya.

One of the most sumptuously colored textiles used for clothing is Ghanaian kente cloth, made by Asante and Ewe weavers using specially designed looms. Kente was probably introduced from the western Sudan during the 16th century, when heavy, elaborate, labor-intensive versions of this fabric were designed for wealthy tribal chiefs and simpler designs became available for the general citizenry. Kente is woven in four-inch (9.5 cm) narrow strips that are sewn together. A characteristic Asante kente has geometric shapes woven in bright colors along the entire length of the strip, while Ewe kente often displays a tweed effect by plying together different colored threads in many of the warps. Ewe kente may also incorporate pictorial symbols.
For this, and more info...


ADWINASA Literally means "all motifs are used up."

According to the elders, the designer of this cloth, attempted to weave a unique cloth to please the Asantehene. In his effort he used all the motifs then known to weavers in weaving one cloth. In the end he remarked that he had exhausted all the repertoire of motifs known to Asante weavers.
The cloth was, therefore viewed as one of the top quality, and the most prestigious of kente cloths, besides those woven exclusively for Asante Kings. It was in the past, worn by kings and people of high status and wealth.

It symbolizes ROYALTY, ELEGANCE, CREATIVE INGENUITY, EXCELLENCE, WEALTH, PERFECTION and SUPERIOR CRAFTSMANSHIP.


OBAAKOFO MMU MAN
Literally means "one person does not rule a nation."

It expresses the Akan system of governance based on participatory democracy. The nine squares represent MPUANKRON (nine tufts of hair) a ceremonial hair cut of some royal functionaries who help rulers make decisions. Originally the cloth was named FATHIA FATA NKRUMA. "Fathia is a suitable wife for Nkrumah." After the military overthrow of Nkrumah, the original significance of MPUANKRON (participatory democracy) was applied to reflect the prevailing political atmosphere.

The cloth symbolizes PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY and WARNING AGAINST AUTOCRATIC RULE



ABUSUA YE DOM
Literally means "the extended family is a force."
Among the Akan peoples, the extended family is the foundation of society. Like a military force, members of the family are collectively responsible for the material and spiritual well-being, the physical protection and the social security of all its members. The cloth was designed to celebrate and reinforce such positive attributes of the extended family system.

In its many variations and background colors the cloth symbolizes STRONG FAMILY BOND, THE VALUE OF FAMILY UNITY, COLLECTIVE WORK and RESPONSIBILITY and COOPERATION.


AKYEMPEM
Literally means "thousands shields." This is a reference to shields used by highly well organized militia consisting of thousands of men and women who defended the Asante Kingdom against external aggression. According to the military strategy of the Asante Kingdom, the chief of the shield bearers, the Akyempemhene, and the rear guards of the King are his own sons. Shields once used as military weapons are now used in royal ceremonies to symbolize and commemorate the military prowess of the Asante Kingdom.

The cloth symbolizes MILITARY PROWESS, UNITY THROUGH MILITARY STRENGTH, BRAVERY, POLITICAL VIGILANCE & SPIRITUAL DEFENSIVENESS.

KYERETWIE
Literally means "the lion catcher." The cloth was designed to commemorate an incident during the reign of King Kwaku Dua (1838 -1867) who tested the courage of his warriors by ordering them to catch a leopard alive. The appellation, "Kyerekwie" was since appended to the names of some of the Asante Kings whose bravery and leadership qualities were comparable to the courage needed to catch a leopard alive. The black vertical warp stripes represent the black sports in a leopard's fur. In the past, the cloth was worn only by the Asantehene or by other chiefs with his permission.

The cloth symbolizes COURAGE, VALOR, EXCEPTIONAL ACHIEVEMENT and INSPIRING LEADERSHIP.

To see where I found all of this info, and to learn more, visit
History and Significance of Ghana's Kente Cloth


Ms. King
Spread Love. Live life. Be Inspired.

1 comments:

  1. Anonymous said...:

    interesting

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