African American products, Fraternity-Sorority and Masonic paraphernalia.
African American products, including Fraternity-Sorority and Masonic paraphernalia.

m menu image  m home m cart

About Mudcloth and Kente Cloth

Kente Cloth

Kente is an Asante ceremonial cloth hand-woven on a horizontal treadle loom. Strips measuring about 4 inches wide are sewn together into larger pieces of cloths. Cloths come in various colors, sizes and designs and are worn during very important social and religious occasions. In a total cultural context, kente is more important than just a cloth. It is a visual representation of history, philosophy, ethics, oral literature, moral values, social code of conduct, religious beliefs, political thought and aesthetic principles. The term kente has its roots in the word kenten which means a basket. The first kente weavers used raffia fibers to weave cloths that looked like kenten (a basket); and thus were referred to as kenten ntoma; meaning basket cloth. The original Asante name of the cloth was nsaduaso or nwontoma, meaning "a cloth hand-woven on a loom" and is still used today by Asante weavers and elders. However, the term kente is the most popularly used today, in and outside Ghana. Many variations of narrow-strip cloths, similar to Kente are woven by various ethnic groups in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. The Asante are one of the Akan peoples who live in parts of Ghana and Cote d'lvoire.


Bokolan-fini or "mudcloth" is a craft from Mali in which a cotton cloth called finimougou is dyed with a mud solution. The patterns used have been handed down from previous generations and learned through years of apprenticeship. The mud used comes from the centers of dried up ponds. After being collected, the mud is stored in an earthen pot for one year.

The first step in creating mudcloth requires washing the finimougou and then drying it in the sun. The cloth is then dipped in a solution prepared from the small leafy branches of two trees, the N'Galaman and N'Tjankara. The cloth is then laid out in the sun to dry for half a day.

After designing the patterns to be painted on the cloth, the artist uses mud to place pattern outlines on the cloth and paints in the background. The designs emerge on the unpainted surface of the cloth. Once the designs have been completed the cloth is placed in the sun to dry for one week.

The result of these mudcloth creations can be found in Afrocentric stores and at festivals throught the United States, typically retailing from $29.00 to $50.00 per piece. The most common color combination is black and white, however brown and black, mustard-yellow and black are also available. The color combinations of blue and black, green (and lime green) and black, red and black and purple and black are more difficult to locate.

Copyright ©1996-2018 Dobson Products ~ Shopping cart powered by Zen Cart