Wrapper (kente cloth), multicolour strip weave, cotton / rayon, probably made by a Ewe man, Ghana, 1950-1966
This handwoven 'kente' style cloth, probably woven by a male Ewe weaver in Ghana in West Africa. It was purchased in Ibadan in Western Nigeria and is part of a collection of West African textiles, spindles, hand spun yarn and a thorn carving, collected by Dr C Marion Petrie. Dr Petrie was an employee of the British Colonial Service in Nigeria and Ghana between 1957 and 1966.
The fabric for the cloth was made during the 1950s or 1960s on a men's double-heddle loom, on which long narrow strips of fabric are woven; these are then sewn together to make larger pieces of cloth. This kente style cloth, which is probably made of cotton with some rayon, consists of narrow multicoloured strips ornamented with supplementary weft patterning. Cotton is commonly used in narrow-band weaving. While hand spun cotton was traditionally used, today imported and local commercial yarns are more often used.
This cloth reproduces the narrow-band weaving of the Ashanti and Yoruba people. Ewe weavers increasingly reproduce this style, as kente is a very popular form of cloth, and sells well. Ashanti kente cloths are distinguished from other male weaves by their use of bright colours and bold and complex patterns. Ewe reproduction kente cloths, on the other hand, use more sombre and cooler colours, such as black, brown, green and dark blue, with less formal decoration. Combinations of bright and sombre colours are also seen and it can be difficult to distinguish Ewe kente from Ashanti kente. Ewe kente cloths are worn in the same manner as Ashanti kente, that is, in toga form. In Ewe, cloths are representative of a man's prosperity and have an important social status.
Handwoven large multicoloured narrow-band 'kente' style cloth, possibly made by an Ewe man from Ghana, West Africa, using cotton with rayon supplementary weft patterns. Today, most forms of cloth made from narrow-band weaving are referred to as being "kente" style.
This cloth was produced on a men's double-heddle portable loom (or horizontal frame treadle loom), a type of loom which produces very long narrow strips of fabric. The cloth was made by sewing narrow strips of woven cloth together lengthways.
Cotton is commonly used in narrow-band weaving. While hand spun cotton was traditionally used, today imported and local yarns are regularly used, as is reflected in the use of rayon in this cloth. The coloured yarns are most likely commercial cotton, although the yellow supplementary wefts are probably rayon.
This cloth was produced in the same fashion as narrow-band weaving by the Ashanti and Yoruba. The Ewe are known for reproducing Ashanti kente, though an Ewe kente is distinguished by the use of more somber and cool colours, such as black, brown, green and dark blue, with less formal decoration. This cloth uses a combination of bright and sombre colours. An Ashanti kente cloth on the other hand is distinguished from other male weaves by its use of bright colours and complex patterns.
This cloth was purchased in Ibadan in Western Nigeria and is part of a collection of 33 objects, consisting of West African textiles, spindles, hand spun yarn and a thorn carving, which were collected in West Africa between 1957 and 1966 by Dr C Marion Petrie. Dr Petrie was employed by the British Colonial Service in government and university posts in various towns in Nigeria and Ghana. She collected textiles and other items for her own enjoyment in markets and from traders. These were subsequently donated to the National Textile Museum in Adelaide in January 1999. When the National Textile Museum closed, the collection was transferred to the Powerhouse Museum.
This cloth is a reproduction of Ashanti kente, possibly made by a male Ewe weaver in Ghana, West Africa. Ewe weavers are increasingly more often reproducing this style, as kente is a very popular form of cloth, which sells well. While it is often impossible to tell Ewe kente apart from Ashanti kente, some copies are easily distinguishable by their neutral, sombre colours in comparison to the bright colours used by the Ashanti. Ewe kente is worn in the same manner as Ashanti kente, that is, in toga form. In Ewe, cloths are representative of one's wealth, and have an important social status. It would have been worn as a toga style garment.