Story of the Kente Cloths

Kente Cloths, as we know them, were developed in the 17th century by the Ashanti (Asante) people, a major ethnic group in Ghana, Africa with a long tradition of weaving dating back to about 3000 B.C.
The term kente has its roots in the word kenten, which means “basket”. The raffia fibers that the first kente weavers used made the woven cloths look like kenten (a basket), and thus were referred to as kenten ntoma meaning “basket cloth”. the kente is a ceremonial cloth hand-woven on a horizontal tread loom. Cloths come in various colors, sizes and designs, and are worn during important social and religious occasions. Many variations of narrow-strip cloths, similar to kente, are woven by various ethnic groups in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa.
In a cultural context, kente is more important than just a cloth. It is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, moral values, social codes of conduct, religious beliefs, political thought and aesthetic principles. Kente is used not only for its beauty, but also for its symbolic significance. Each cloth has a name and a meaning, as do each of the numerous patterns and motifs.

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