Kente cloth (green with peppers)

CULTURE:
Asante peoples
DATE:
1920-1930
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General Description

Kente is the best known and most popular of the Asante textiles. Oral traditions credit a spider’s web-making with having inspired two hunters to create the first kente. Osei Tutu I, the first king of the Asante, reserved the cloth for royals. Over time, with greater varieties of colors and materials, kente became accessible to more of the population.

Silk kente with named designs continue to be limited to Asante elites. The name of this design, m__okowa, translates to “little pepper” and refers to the multicolor sections of weaving interspersed within the cloth’s green background. Although this is not an elite kente pattern, it would have been a prestigious garment because it is made entirely of silk.

Adapted from

  • Roslyn Walker, The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, Label text, 2018.