Kente cloth is one of the very famous clothing of Ghana. History and traditions run parallel with this very auspicious and superb piece of clothing ‘infrastructure’. The cloth primarily belongs to the Ashanti people.
The word ‘Kente’ means basket. The word has its origin in Ashanti dialect. Ashanti people inhabited the land of modern Ghana in seventeenth century. Akan and Ashanti are synonymously used terms.
Kente cloth is a woven cloth in short. Plenty of small pieces with different prints and structures are woven together to create what is called Kente.
According to Ashanti tales and folklores, a couple of farmers were inspired by a spider web. They were inspired by the natural talent of spiders. The farmers tried to weave a web. In the process, they were able to generate a special piece of intermingled cloth which became famous as Kente.
Initially, the Kente cloth was made from Raffia fiber. But later on Raffia tree fiber was replaced by silk. Silk was expensive in medieval times and Ashanti people had to trade and import silk in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
In contemporary times, the cloth is made of cotton. This makes it a much more affordable commodity to purchase and handle.
The cloth is a gentle mix of class and traditions woven and tied in strong knots to handle the pressures of fast changing global traditions.
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