12 Things You Didn’t Know About Akwete Cloth
They may be Portuguese inspired
Akwete cloths began appearing in European museums in the 1880s and 1890s, according to Colleen Kriger in her book, “Cloth In West African History.” Kriger said “The invention of Akwete cloth is conveyed by way of a cliche, or mnemonic stereotype, which takes the guise of a legendary weaver known as Dada Nwakata…it is unlikely Dada Nwakata did it single handedly.” According to another source — Akweteusa — Nwakata allegedly unraveled threads of a cloth brought to her region by the Portuguese between the 14th and 16th centuries. Nwakata studied the weave structures and copied them, adapting them and creating new designs. Only after Nwakata died did her close friend — the only person she allowed in the room while she wove—reveal Nwakata’s weave structures.