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What is Kente fabric?

african fabric african inspired elevin kente kente fabric

Kente fabric is a Ghanaian textile that originated during the time of the Ashanti empire, and native to the Akan people.  Although it's popularity has resulted in the cloth being worn more liberally by non-natives, it is traditionally viewed as sacred by the Akan and they typically worn in formal situations, having been worn primarily by kings in historical times.  Within the African continent, Kente is among the best known African fabrics.

Kente cloth is primarily produced in regions that were historically within the Ashanti empire, such as Bonwire, Adanwomase, Sakora Wonoo, and Ntonso.  It is also produced along the Ivory Coast, having been adopted by people in this region.  The Akan refer to the cloth as nwentoma, or woven cloth.  The term Kente has its roots in kenten, meaning basket in the Asante dialect.

kente cloth - elevin

Typical Kente is made of interwoven silk and cotton, with patterns that are represented by bright multicolored shapes.  Similar to other popular African fabrics, unique Kente cloths are commonly given names by their producers, based on sentimental reasons, history, proverbs, or nature.

Each Kente color typically has its own meaning.  For example, blue represents peace, green represents nature, gold represents wealth and glory, maroon represents earth, purple represents femininity, and so on.

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