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  • Writer's picturePatrick Moriarty

Kente Weaving in Bonwire Village, Ghana

Last October (2013) on a trip to Ghana, myself and friends visited Bonwire Village and the local lads taught me some Kente weaving techniques. I was very grateful to them for sharing their skills and being so instructive and fun.

Kente cloth originated in the Ashanti Kingdom (C17th–1957), an empire which was a large stretch of land which at it’s peak not only included a large section of Ghana but also Ivory Coast and Benin.

Kente fabric is very brightly coloured with geometric patterns. It is handwoven using the stripweave technique, on a narrow double heddle loom.

Every pattern has a traditional meaning relating to historical events, political principles, religious and social customs. The colours also have very interesting symbolic references eg. red represents the blood of forefathers and green represents the forest. The cloth is worn by both sexes for special events such as festivals and ceremonies.

In the pics, apart from the excellent weaves, I really like the table which the shuttles are kept on. The recycled surface is an advertisements page of a newspaper with clear plastic stretched over the top so it can be cleaned. You can see an image of a bicycle for sale.

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