These dazzling strip-woven textiles, popularly known as kente cloth, are made by masterful Asante and Ewe weavers in Ghana. One long strip of cloth is woven with patterns that are carefully planned to form a checkered design when the strip is cut and sewn together. Explore strip-weaving and other time-honored African textile patterning techniques in “Threads of Tradition,” one of our five Creative Africa exhibitions.
Woman’s Cloth (One of a Pair), c. 1930–80, made by the Asante culture, Akan peoples, Ghana
Man’s Cloth, c. 1930–80, made by the Asante culture, Akan peoples, Ghana
Man’s Cloth, c. 1920–70, made by the Ewe or Adangme culture, Ghana or Togo
This Kuba overskirt is covered with embroidered abstract patterns, including some done with a special “cut pile” stitch that creates tufts that look like velvet. The skirt, wrapped around the body for ceremonial dances, has wavy edges that were worn only by very high-ranking women. Made by stitching on a thick bundle of raffia fibers, they give a sense of movement even when the skirt is flat. See this and other patterned textiles in Creative Africa: Threads of Tradition.
Woman’s Overskirt, c. 1900–1950, Made by the Kuba culture, Democratic Republic of the Congo