April 8, 2014
Object: Memory Board (Lukasa)
19th century, Luba, Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo I. Introduction
A) Describe the Kingdom of Luba and Central African Kingdom of the 19th century
B) Thesis Statement: A Lukasa memory board is a library of Luba historical knowledge with encoded memories of the past to retell in the present to protect, transmit, and sanctify the esoteric royal knowledge undergirding the great Central African Kingdom.
Main Point: Describe the meaning behind the Lukasa memory board and the purpose it withholds within the Kingdom of Luba
a. It protects the Bambudye, a once powerful secret society of the Luba as well as validates a king’s power by reminding the public of how the king came to power and his ancestry
b. It transmits information to illustrate the Luba political system, historical chronicles of the Luba state, territorial diagrams of local chiefdoms, and Luba culture
c. It sanctifies the Luba culture with encodes of myths and proverbs to record the Luba’s myth of origin Main Point: Describe the meaning behind the materials used in creating the Lukasa memory board
a. It describes the memory of the Luba culture as a string of beads documenting events, people, and places that can be restrung and reorganized in a myriad of ways
b. A lukasa fixes the beads in dynamic juxtapositions, and memories are then associated with their forms, colors, sizes, and configurations.
c. Lukasa utilize a system of denotation based on masses of shells and beads affixed to their wooden surfaces which helps communicate its content through incised designs and images carved in relief.
d. A court historian would hold the board in his hand and run his fingers over the surface of the beads. And through this kind of tactile contact with the board, it would stimulate remembrance of events, people, and places in the past
Main Point: Describe how the memory board allows the people of Luba to communicate
a. Luba often associate memory with a string of beads, where one can take each of these events and people in the past and string them together in different ways depending on who one is and to what audience one is speakingto
b. The Lukasa served was to govern the behavior of the Bambudye. They had certain beads to remind them of how to treat each other and other beads to instruct them how to treat those outside of the Bambudye
c. The messages inscribed on the object are communicated in a symbolic code represented by an arrangement of attached pieces of shells or beads, or by carved images that contain information on early myths and heroes, boards that document the structure of the Bambudye society, and finally boards that contained private information for individual Luba rulers.
● Cultures around the world had so many different ways to record and remember their histories.
Whether they had writing systems or not, they almost always developed complex mnemonic systems, or memory devices, to assist with the protection and the transmission of knowledge.
There’s one culture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Luba of southeastern
Democratic Republic of the Congo, that developed one of the most remarkable mnemonic devices known in Africa, and it’s called a lukasa memory board in which it preserves and teaches the history to younger generations, an essential and valued role in Luba society
Annotated Bibliography 1. "Art Through Time: A Global View Memory Board (lukasa)." Learner.org. Web. 13 Feb.
This website, learner.org offers honest information the Lukasa memory board with honest information about the background of the Luba culture. The texts has many dates, which shows some sort of