This cloth figure represents a 20th-century Ghanaian woman doing chores, sweeping up the mess that is in front of her. The most interesting aspect of this figure, however, is that she wears a dress and head covering of fabric printed to represent the famous Asante cloth known as Kente.
Like the Korhogo cloth also in this exhibit, Kente cloth is one of the few textiles in Africa that is produced by men. Great skill is required to weave intricate patterns into narrow cloth strips, which are then sewn together into even more complex cloths. Over three hundred different Kente cloth patterns have been developed, and each has been named; some patterns are named and reserved exclusively for Asante royalty. Because this cloth has become popular in the tourist trade and in high-fashion clothing, Kente cloth plays a large social and economic role in Ghana’s economy–as well as in Asante culture for displaying personal wealth and status. Today machine-woven and printed reproductions of Kente cloth are widely available, but traditional, hand-woven Kente cloth continues to be celebrated and highly valued. Researched by Hannah Harmon
For more information, you may contact the researcher(s) noted in the title of this exhibit entry, or Dr. Billie Follensbee, the professor of the course, at BillieFollensbee@MissouriState.edu