How is meaning conveyed in Kente designs?
Strong colours, symbols and geometric patterns are woven into the Kente strips, all of which have a specific meaning.
Colour is particularly significant in the design. The warp thread is usually black, but the weft threads are always richly coloured. These colours have different meanings:
- yellow - egg yolk, for fertility
- pink - feminine, for calm
- red - blood, for struggle
- blue - sky, for love
- maroon - Mother Earth, for protection
- white - clay, for spiritual balance
- grey - ash, for cleansing
- purple - female, for healing
- green - harvest for health
- silver - moon, for joy
- gold - value, for wealth
- black - ageing, for maturity.
Despite the significance of colours and patterns, many people simply select strips that they find aesthetically pleasing or appropriate for a special occasion. For example, if they are choosing cloth for a garment to wear to a funeral, they will often pick a dark design.