Originally, the Kente, or Kita is a fabric developed in the 12th century by the Ashanti people, Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire. The Kente is composed of multicolored strips, woven from cotton or silk thread. The strips are then sewn side by side.
According to a Ashanti legend, two friends who had gone to the forest in search of game would have surprised a giant spider (the famous Anansé) weaving his web. Back in the village, they imitated the animal to make a fabric. This is how, according to legend, the first kente offered to the king was born.
Colors and geometric figures are not chosen at random. Several colors are used in Kente cloths. The most common are:
- White is the color of purity, it recalls the sacred and divine character.
- Yellow, the color of gold, symbolizes opulence, wealth.
- Black is the color of mourning but also of mystery.
- Green is the symbol of life, growth and harmony.
- Blue evokes the sky and the sea.
- Brown is the color of Mother Earth.
- The rose symbolizes the feminine essence of life.
- Silver represents serenity.
To the symbolism of colors, we must add those of geometric motifs:
- The square is the symbol of the earth and the cosmos
- The triangle represents the three sides of life: birth, existence and death
- The diamond, composed of two juxtaposed triangles, represents the duality of the king (chief and man)
- The circle represents infinity