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Folklore Behind the Origin of the Kente Cloth

The beautiful multicoloured scarves worn on graduation day by thousands of African Americans and African students across the United States are actually made of Kente fabric. They are known as Kente Stoles.The Kente cloth originates from the Ashanti people of Ghana and started out as an exclusive piece of clothing for royalty.  

 

History of the Kente Cloth

Folklore narrates that when two friends went hunting, they stumbled on a giant spider weaving its web in the forest. After they had observed the spider for two days they returned home to reproduce what they had seen the spider do on raffia.This piece of skillfully woven raffia was presented to the king who was so impressed he gave them the position of the king’s tailors. These designs were exclusive to the king and anyone who dared copy them risked being punished.

How is the Kente Cloth Woven?

Kente cloth is hand woven with either silk, cotton or rayon strips of cloth which are about 10cm wide.. These bands are then sewn together to collectively make a larger cloth.

The cost of Kente depends on the quality of the fabric and the weaving.

What is Kente Cloth Used for?

In addition to clothing the Kente fabric is now used for a variety of items; pocket squares, baby blankets, headwraps, jewelry, backpacks, handbags, sandals, sneakers, wedges, flats, cushions, throw pillows, upholstery, crafts, decor, stationery, table runners, quilts, ottomans, hoodies, jackets and the list goes on.  Photo: Beautiful Bride in Kente Engagement Dress.

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