VI. Africa‎ > ‎

177. Lukasa (memory board)

#177 Lukasa (Memory Board)

Form:

  • Varied in size but small enough to hold

  • Made of large wood plank with metal and smalls beads of various materials

  • 19th - 20th century Luba People Democratic Republic of Congo


Function:

  • Used as a way to record and remember important times and events in the Luba People’s society

    • Important for oral history and story-telling

    • Alludes to ancestors and deities, recording names

  • Only specifically trained people can read them

    • Demonstrates hierarchy and class consciousness, as only the most accomplished and senior members of council could read the memory boards

    • These people were known as “men of memory”

  • Readers would hold it in their left hand and trace patterns with their right index finger


Content:

  • A wooden plank that has metal beads and other beads specifically placed to make patterns in touch in visualization to discuss the history of the Luba People

  • Designed specifically to tell a story and remember the past easily for those who are trained to be able to do so
  • People in the Luba tribes were specifically trained to read lukasas and their sole job was to remember the oral stories and traditions
  • It is hard to keep the stories of the Luba people alive because it is oral tradition and the specific readers are dying and not passing down the stories and losing culture


Context:

  • At the start of the 1500s the Luba people began to emerge as a powerful nation in  central Africa

  • The People wanted to figure out a way to remember their history so their culture would not be lost

  • Specific people assigned by the Luba kings were trained to memorize patterns and colors in order to make a Luba and tell the story on it to the people in the Luba Tribes.

  • This specific one was made between the 19th and 20th century


Cross Cultural Connections:

  • This type of storytelling relates to the Benin people who had the Benin wall with plaques of patterns that kept historical records of the Benin people


Themes:

  • Oral Tradition

  • Storytelling

  • Maintaining culture

  • Hierarchy

  • Language

  • Record keeping


Sources:

  • AP Art History Volume 3: Beyond the European Tradition with Global Contemporary

  • https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/africa-ap/a/lukasa-memory-board-luba-peoples

Comments