Ashanti Kente Cloth

Kente as we know it was developed by the Ashanti people in the 17th Century A.D. Kente is said to have originated when a man by the name of Ota Karaban and his friend Kwaku Ameyaw (hailing from the town of Bonwire) learned the art of making Kente Cloth by observing a spider weaving its spider web. They watched the spider carefully and mimicked its actions to weave the first Kente Cloth. They supposedly reported their accomplishment to their local chief, Nana Bobie, who in turn reported it to the Asantehene (Ashanti Chief). The Asantehene was very impressed by the craftsmanship, decreed it a royal cloth, and used it for special occasions to show his prestige. Today in Ghana, both the Ashanti, Ewe and many various tribes are well known for their expertise in creating this cloth.

2 thoughts on “Ashanti Kente Cloth”

  1. This total fiction. Why are people desperately trying to claim the origin of something they know very well did not start with them? What does “Kente” mean in Akan (Twi/Ashanti/Fante/Akwapen or any of the related dialects)? The empty barrel makes the most noise…that simply is the frustration of those who are struggling to claim or assigned the origin of Kete/Kente to the Ashantis? It is so childish to even consider such statements as “…observing a spider weaving its spider web…” They even can name the first person who “claim” to of carried out such an observation. Funny they indicate this happen in “17th Century AD” when the Ewe have long been weaving their crafts together with their Fon and other kins.

  2. That the Ashantis learned kente weaving from the spider is a myth. It would be more credible to say the Ashantis learned it from the Ewes who named the product (the cloth) from how it was woven – “ke te” with it’s now corrupt form of “kente”. If kente indeed originated from the Ashantis we should be able to get the meaning of the word from the Akan or Ashanti diction or language.

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