This morning I made a new dress – an order from my neighbour for her lovely little 16-month-old daughter.
Kara and her daughter came round on Wednesday to discuss options. Kara was interested in the colours and feel of the fabric and which colours complemented her little girl’s skintone, while her daughter was more interested in the zebra mask lurking in the ‘blue room’ – our storage-cum-music-cum-fabric room.
Kara opted for the printed kente – a gorgeous bright print – which I think deserves an explanation and history lesson.
A history of kente
Kente cloth is a Ghanaian royal and sacred woven cloth (or nwentoma), traditionally worn by the Asante people of Ghana in times of extreme importance. Kente is still highly regarded across Ghana today and is often worn for special occasions such as traditional Ghanaian weddings.
Asante kente can be identified by its dazzling, multi-coloured geometric shapes and bold designs and each design has an individual meaning. The cloths are identified primarily by the patterns found in the warp threads and different colours hold different meanings (see here).
This kente design (sadly not woven kente which is very expensive, but instead printed) uses gold, ping, green and blue, conveying:
- wealth, royalty, high status, glory and spiritual purity (gold);
- femininity (pink);
- vegetation, planting, harvesting, growth, spiritual renewal (green); and
- peacefulness, harmony and love (blue)
And here it is: