Strip of Ewe Kente Cloth from Asante, Ghana

Artwork
Identifier:
2021.53.9
Artist:
Artist Unknown
Credit:
Gift of Barbara Paxon
Medium:
Handwoven Silk and Cotton
Date:
1970
Dimensions:
Artworks - Height: 81" Width: 3.75"
Description:
Long strip of fabric, soft, made of silk and cotton. Blue fringe on either short end. Thick stripes of different patterns and colors repeat over the full length of the strip of fabric. First vertical stripe has thinner stripes in white, red, gree, black and orange. Next stripe has a blue background with woven red and yellow diamond like shapes. Last variety of thick vertical stripes is a repetitive pattern of red and yellow horizontal lines. This pattern is sometimes called the "Right Hand Washes The Left Hand" pattern.
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”.