Woven Kente Cloth

Textiles are symbolic and unique to different cultures. The Kente cloth is a silk and cotton fabric native to the Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Originally, a sacred cloth of kings, it has now become an icon of African cultural heritage around the world. Each of the bright colors has a symbolic meaning. Please see the kente cloth wikipedia page for more information including symbolic meanings of the colors.

Applications Across Subjects:

Math
  • Measuring units (using rulers and other measuring tools to prepare materials)
  • Patterns
ELA
  • How-To books (about making the cloth)
  • Non-fiction writing about fabric- the history, uses, around the world
  • Fiction writing
Social Studies
  • A study of the Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast
  • History of cloths and weaving around the world
Science
  • Dyeing cloth/fabric
Social & Emotional
  • Weaving as a quiet-time, calm down, or meditative activity
  • Weaving as community building- everyone weaves a small part of the whole

Materials needed: Strips of paper and fabric, ribbons, and other trim

Cut ribbon and paper or fabric strips into the same lengths. Begin weaving together to create a Kente-inspired textile.

Kente Cloth (Ghanaian). Seattle Art Museum. Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company

Kente Cloth (Ghanaian). Seattle Art Museum. Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company

El Anatsui at the Brooklyn Museum. The Ghanian artist combines old aluminum materials and weaves them into tapestries inspired by West Africa's traditional textiles.

El Anatsui at the Brooklyn Museum. The Ghanian artist combines old aluminum materials and weaves them into tapestries inspired by West Africa’s traditional textiles.