Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Textile Society of America 2014 Biennial Symposium Proceedings: New Directions: Examining the Past, Creating the Future, Los Angeles, California, September 10–14, 2014,


Copyright 2014 by the author(s).


Adinkra and kente cloth have changed significantly in the course of their history first as markers of Asante royal power and then of Ghanaian cultural distinction. Once handmade and reserved for the exclusive use of the Asante ruler, cheap mass-produced reproductions now proliferate in Ghanaian markets. In attempting to use intellectual property law to regulate their appropriation, the Ghanaian state has set the conditions for further changes in these fabrics, their designs, and their sources of authority. This paper examines the implications of changing political and regulatory contexts for the past present and future meanings of adinkra and kente cloth for the people who produce and use them.