Strip of Kente Cloth from Asante, Ghana

Artwork
Identifier:
2021.53.10
Artist:
Artist Unknown
Credit:
Gift of Barbara Paxon
Medium:
Handwoven Silk and Cotton
Date:
1970
Dimensions:
Artworks - Height: 58" Width: 3.75"
Description:
Long strip of fabric with blue silk lining on one side, handwoven, colorful on the other side. Black fringe on either short end. Patterned side has vertical stripes in blue, yellow, green, white and red. These stripes are broken up with yellow geometric patterned vertical stripes.
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”.