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Published: 03 February 2012

By Andy Ross

Asante cloth

Last night, I watched a documentary on the Asante Kingdom from the series, Lost Kingdoms of Africa, hosted by Gus Casely-Hayford. It is an amazing series made with care and thought, and this film in particular was really interesting because of the segment on weave and cloth in the Asante culture, which continues into the present-day in Ghana.

Each pattern, from what I gather, in the Kente cloth has a meaning to which the colours contribute. The main theme seemed to be unity among people, and the amazing variety of colours and patterns I saw were astonishing. One of the clips shows weavers with a backdrop of lengths of cloth hanging behind them, a visual feast!

There is also a segment on the drums of the country, each one speaking with a distinctive voice across the distances of the land. I do not know nearly enough about the language or about the sounds of drumming, but I think I could hear that there is a relationship between the sounds of the drum and the spoken syllables. More research on my part, I feel!

If you would like to see the documentary it is available on iPlayer from the BBC and details on the BBC 4 website.