Asante Kente Cloths from Ghana

We don’t collect very many Asante kente cloths even though large quantities of them are available in Ghana and internationally. Some Asante kente was woven from cotton, a very few highly prized heirloom pieces are silk, but the vast majority are woven of rayon, which was adopted by Asante weavers as a substitute for more expensive silk soon after it became commercially available, at least by the 1930s/40s. Here we focus mainly on rare silk pieces woven with complex patterns for royal and chiefly patrons. Cloths of this quality are extremely scarce (far more so than even top quality Ewe textiles) and not well represented in museum collections. Careful attention and a trained eye attuned to the nuances of Asante textile design will be rewarded by a greater appreciation of the skill shown by those weavers working for Asante kings and chiefs who created the exceptional cloths displayed here. Our selection is divided into large men’s cloths and smaller pieces worn in pairs by women.