October 6, 2010

Bonwire - Kente cloth

 Our program traveled to Kumasi this weekend, and while we were there we traveled to a few neighboring villages.  The first we went to was Bonwire, where they are known for their production of Kente cloth.  Kente was traditionally worn by royalty.  It is deeply woven with expression - the colors and patterns both hold a great deal of symbolism.  It expresses the status and origin of the individual adorned in the cloth.  Kente originates from the Ashanti region (where Kumasi is) and is a notable artifact that is recognized throughout Africa and the world today. 

I even got to try my hand at weaving some Kente!  I was at first weary to try making something with such a long standing history and prestige, but found it to be relatively simple once I got my bearings.  Generally, it is forbiden for women to weave Kente, but they made an exception for us five ladies.  All four of my limbs were put to good use; left foot down, pass thread through, comb it tight, right foot down, pass thread through and so forth.  The pattern below, that I wove about 1cm of, means family is unity.  However, this pattern, like many others, has multiple meanings. 

Hellooooo, shopping spree!

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