Ghanaian Women in traditional woven kente
Kente cloth has its origin with the Ashanti Kingdom, and was adopted by people in Ivory Coast and many other West African counties. It is an Akan royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance and was the cloth of kings. Over time, the use of kente became more widespread. However, its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem with Akans.
Kente is made in Akan lands such asAshanti Kingdom, (Bonwire,Adanwomase, Sakora Wonoo, Ntonso in the Kwabre areas of the Ashanti Region) and among Akans. Kente is also produced by Akans in Ivory Coast. Lastly, Kente is worn by many other groups who have been influenced by Akans. It is the best known of all African textiles. Kente comes from the word kenten, which means basket inAkan dialect Asante. Akans refer to kente as nwentoma, meaning woven cloth.
The icon of African cultural heritage around the world, Akan kente is identified by its dazzling, multicolored patterns of bright colors, geometric shapes, and bold designs. Kente characterized by weft designs woven into every available block of plain weaveis called adweneasa. The Akan people choose kente cloths as much for their names as their colors and patterns. Although the cloths are identified primarily by the patterns found in the lengthwise (warp) threads, there is often little correlation between appearance and name. Names are derived from several sources, including proverbs, historical events, important chiefs, queen mothers, and plants.