Strip of Ewe Kente Cloth from Togo, Africa

Artist Unknown
Gift of Barbara Paxon
Handwoven Silk and Cotton
circa 1970
Artworks - Height: 136.5" Width: 5"
Long strip of fabric, slightly rough in texture. Mostly orange background with horizontal stripes of red, dark blue and green with thinner stripes of white and black. Vertical stripes in black, bright yellow and bright blue.
Historical Context:
Kente cloth is made by the Asante peoples of Ghana and the Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo. It is the best known of all African textiles. Kente is made of handwoven cloth made from strips of silk and cotton. Historically the fabric was worn in a toga-like fashion by royalty. In modern day Ghana, the wearing of Kente cloth has become widespread to commemorate special occasions, with highly sought after Kente brands led by master weavers. The word Kente closely resembles the Ewe words describing the weaving technique. In the Ewe language, the syllables “Ke na te”, describe the action of weaving Kente cloth, with “ke” translating to “open” and “te” translating to “press”, the motions that are repeated hundreds or thousands of times to weave Kente Cloth. Some argue those syllables may have been corrupted over time into just “Kente”.