Kente textile art is considered an icon of African cultural heritage around the world. Conventional Kente cloth, called Nwentoma in the Nzema language, means woven cloth & is made of interwoven silk cloth strips. Most modern versions use the indigenous patterns in a printed form. Native to the Akan people of Ghana & the Ivory Coast, Kente was considered the cloth of Kings & therefore sacred; worn only for important events. Over time, the use of Kente has become an international fashion statement, but still retains its tribal significance within the Akan family & others in Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, including the Asante, Bono, Fante & Nzema dating back before the rise of the Ashanti Empire. Identified by its dazzling, multicolored patterns of bright colors, geometric shapes & bold designs, every Kente motif is incredibly meaningful & derived from sources such as proverbs, historical events, important chiefs, queen mothers, & plants, while each color used has a symbolic purpose as well.
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