Wrapper (Kente)

View enlargement
Zoom image
Email to a friend
Print this page

Asante
Ghana

Wrapper (Kente), 1901/50

Rayon, twenty-three narrow woven strips with bands of plain weave, weft-faced warp-ribbed plain weave, plain weave with supplementary patterning wefts; plain weave with supplementary brocading wefts; pieced
323.3 x 212.8 cm (127 1/4 x 83 5/8 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David C. Ruttenberg, 1986.1043

Since the early 18th century, kente cloth has been an important part of Asante royal regalia. Known for its bold, contrasting colors and dense patterns, kente has a striking visual impact when worn. Traditionally, Asante men weave kente. They begin by making a long strip, two- to three-inches wide, on a horizontal loom. When finished, the strip is cut into sections of equal length and sewn together edge to edge to make a complete cloth. The heaviest and most elaborate garments may join as many as 24 strips. Though once restricted to royal use, today kente is more accessible to the public. It is often worn on special religious or social occasions, including weddings, child-naming ceremonies, burials, and funerals.