Kente Cloth

Asante peoples, Ghana

Cotton and silk

Gift of Dusty Hind and Dr. Barbara O’Shaughnessy

80 x 126 in

Kente is a warp-emphasis fabric produced in Ghana by both the Asante and Ewe peoples. The Asante cloth tends to be more vibrant and stylized in the depiction of objects, while the Ewe use more muted colours and realistic depictions woven into the cloth. All of the patterns used have a specific meaning and can be a powerful tool in the expression of ideas and politics. In 1951, Kwame Nkrumah, the first elected leader of Ghana, wore this pattern upon his release from prison to signify the historical beginnings of the new nation. Historically, Kente was used only by kings, now only a few patterns are reserved for chieftains and royalty. The Mmeeda pattern of Kente, shown here, is characterized by thin stripes of red, back, yellow and white on various colour backgrounds.

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