The History of Kente
Happy Friday! We're back with another Bespoke Fridays on the blog. It's February and it's Black History month. As a culture, Africans have come a long way. Most recently, the United States had a black president in office for two terms. Now that’s progress!
More and more we’re hearing about black lives matter, black girls are magic, and natural hair rocks. African prints and all things African are definitely trending. But it’s no trend for us. It’s our culture: it's our lifestyle. Our favorite and most popular fabric is the traditional Ghanian Kente cloth. Did you know that these fabrics all have a meaning?
ˈkentə,-tē/ noun Kente cloth originated with the Ashanti people of Ghana over 375 years ago, in a village called Bonwire. Legends say two brothers Kurugu and Ameyaw went hunting one afternoon and came across a spider spinning a web. They were astonished by the beauty of the web and thought that they could create something like it. They went back to the village and made the first kente cloth out of black and white fibers from a raffia tree. Bonwire is still the most famous center for kente cloth weaving to date.
Did you know that in the Ghanian culture every color is representative of something?
black—maturation, intensified spiritual energy
blue—peacefulness, harmony and love
green—vegetation, planting, harvesting, growth, spiritual renewal
gold—royalty, wealth, high status, glory, spiritual purity
grey—healing and cleansing rituals; associated with ash
maroon—the color of mother earth; associated with healing
pink—associated with the female essence of life; a mild, gentle aspect of red
purple—associated with feminine aspects of life; usually worn by women
red—political and spiritual moods; bloodshed; sacrificial rites and death.
silver—serenity, purity, joy; associated with the moon
white—purification, sanctification rites and festive occasions
yellow—preciousness, royalty, wealth, fertility, beauty
~Team Gideon's Needle