Not Simply a Cloth
Kente is an Asante traditional cloth hand-woven on a wooden loom in strips, approximately four and a half inches wide by one hundred and forty-four inches long. A typical man's cloth is approximately eight feet by twelve feet when the strips are sewn together. Cloths usually come in two or more color combinations, woven with geometric and pictogram designs and are worn on special occasions.
The word kente is derived from kenten (a woven basket), which was woven with the same interlocking technique but using raffia fibers instead of the fine yarn used in kente.
Kente is not simply a cloth. Culturally, it visually depicts the historical, political, social and aesthetic tenets of Asante society.
Examples of traditional patterns include:
Huggy Bean and the Origin of the Magic Kente Cloth, Linda Cousins. Gumbs & Thomas Publishers, 1991.
Kente Colors, Deborah M. Newton Chocolate, John Ward, and Debbi Chocolate. Walker & Co., 1996.
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Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity, Doran H. Ross and Raymond Aaron Silverman. Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1998.
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