The African material is entirely hand-woven by Ghanaian weavers with silk and cotton and originally came from the Ashanti Kingdom of Ghana, where it was worn by the Ashanti and Ewe indigenous peoples.
It was a real symbol of power, donned by royalty and on special occasions by the Akan Tribe. Till this day, it continues to be the royals’ official dress for ceremonies and public appearances, but it is also a widespread textile choice for just about anyone else, inclusive of foreigners who have fallen in love with it.
Another name for the Kente cloth is nwentoma in Akan language and we have found that Kente cloth colors denote specific meanings. Below is a list of some of these colors and their meanings:
- Blue – stands for the sky and is used to symbolize holiness, peace, harmony, good fortune, and love.
- Black – stands for aging, also stands for strong spiritual energy, and the spirits of the ancestors.
- Gold – like the metal gold, is a symbol of royalty, wealth, and spiritual purity.
- Green – is associated with plants and stand for growth and good health.
- Yellow – The color is a symbol for things that are holy and precious.
- Grey – represents ashes, which are used for spiritual cleansing.
- Pink – is used to symbolize gentle qualities such as calmness, sweetness, and tenderness.
- White – It stands for purity and healing.
- Maroon – is associated with the color of Earth, the mother. It represents healing and protection from evil.
- Red – stands for blood and for strong political and spiritual feelings.
- Purple – like maroon, is associated with Earth and with healing.
- Silver – stands for the moon and represents serenity, purity and joy.
The hand woven Kente cloth of Ghana is not especially cheap and so there are cheaper options for prints. The uses of Kente cloth are endless, added to the ones already mentioned above, they are used in weddings, gifted to Ghanaian brides from the fiance and his family and is in fact Ghana’s national cloth.
There are more than 300 different patters of the Kente cloth. Each pattern has a name and its own meaning. The meanings come from past events, religious beliefs, political ideas, and social customs.
So the beauty of Ghana’s Kente cloth is as much in its intricate detail obtained from careful weaving as it is in the rich culture behind it.
Here are some pictures that show the Kente cloth used in everything from actual clothes to shoes;