Students have read about the cultural importance of African arts and crafts. In many places in Africa south of the Sahara, craftspeople continue to practice traditional crafts for local use, for the tourist trade, and for export. In this lesson students will learn about West African strip weaving and the making of Kente cloth. They will read several articles and study many drawings and photographs to gain in-depth knowledge about the production of this popular textile form.
In this lesson students will read several articles about West African strip weaving of Kente cloth. They will learn about the cultural context in which strip weaving occurs. They will be able to study many photographs covering both the weaving process and the finished results. They will also read about a master weaver from Ghana and view a book that he has co-authored. They will answer four questions about their reading and then will compose an informative magazine article about strip weaving and Kente cloth.
- Students will be able to discuss the importance of cloth weaving in West Africa.
- Students will be able to apply what they have learned to write an informative magazine article about strip weaving and Kente cloth.
Applied Content Standards
Standard 6: The geographically informed person knows and understands how culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions.
Standard 10: The geographically informed person knows and understands the characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics.
Student Web Activity Answers
- The spider Anansi taught the art of weaving to two brothers who had discovered his web while on a hunting trip. Anansi also taught them how to spin and dye the threads. Since then the Ashanti have used the strip looms Anansi taught them to build. Men traditionally do the strip weaving in West Africa.
- Products made by strip weavers include blankets, bags, sheets, rugs, tent dividers, pillows, umbrellas, shawls, head cloths, trousers, and robes. Strip-woven fabric is stronger and more durable than most imported cloth. It is also more traditional.
- The butterfly symbolizes punctuality and hard work. The parrot symbolizes the rejuvenating power of nature.
- In 1975 Ahiagble served as Artist-in Residence at the Museum of African Art in the United States. He often works abroad in Europe and North America, teaching about the symbolism of Kente cloth and its manufacture. He also has co-authored a children's book titled Master Weaver from Ghana about his home town, its people, and strip weaving.
- Students' articles should reflect all the information gathered while browsing the Web site and should describe the weaving process in some detail. Students should also discuss the benefits of this textile, its beauty, durability, and meanings.
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