Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity

Ewe peoples, Ghana
Cotton, rayon
National Museum of African Art Teaching Collection, ED85-12

From Strips to Cloth

Naming kente

The Asante peoples of Ghana choose kente cloths as much for their names as their colors and patterns. Although the cloths are identified primarily by the patterns found in the lengthwise (warp) threads, there is often little correlation between appearance and name. Names are derived from several sources, including proverbs, historical events, important chiefs, queen mothers, and plants.

This kente belonged to Paramount chief Nana Akyanfuo Akowuah Dateh II from Kumase. The cloth is named for the proverb Tikoro nko agyina, which means "one head does not constitute a council."

Click on the highlighted words to hear their pronunciation

    1     2     3     4     5