Family Activity: Wrapped in Cloth

Learn the importance of Kente cloth in the Asante tradition, and make a woven construction of your own. Includes discussion questions and an art-making activity.


Introduction:

Rulers in the Asante Kingdom of Ghana have been wearing wrappers made of cloth called kente for several centuries. The cloth begins as a long, narrow strip that is woven by men on a loom. Later, the long strip is cut into smaller sections that are sewn together, edge to edge. Kente cloth is worn by more than just kings today. Asante people wear untailored wrappers or clothing made from kente cloth as their best dress and on special occasions such as weddings and funerals. Kente cloth also has become popular around the world as a source of pride for people of African descent.

Discussion Questions:

Use the close-up view to look carefully at this Men’s Wrapper (Kente).

  • What colors do you see?
  • Describe the pattern of the cloth.
  • Can you see the sections that have been sewn together?

Activity:

Make your own colorful weaving!

Materials Needed:

  • One piece of construction paper (12 x 18 in.)
  • Assortment of paper strips
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Steps:

  1. Fold the construction paper in half. Cut an even number of slits in the fold. Unfold the paper. (Figure 1)
  2. Weave the paper strips through the slits in the construction paper. (Figure 2)
  3. Glue the ends of the paper strips to the construction paper. (Figure 3)


More Fun:

Have family members and friends make their own paper sections and glue them into longer and wider lengths to make a larger “cloth.” Decorate a wall of your room with your kente cloth!



Art Access