I'm just getting over a lull and now enjoying the storm. It feels as if all my senses are sharpened. My idea book is filling....I have sketcher's cramp in my hand...... not that I'm moaning, mind you. I'm loving this flood of ideas and inspiration as well as abundant gifts from friends and family. My mother inlaw insists that I buy a few lottery tickets because this is obviously my lucky phase.
For years I've been searching for a Lukasa and on Monday I found the first Lukasa I've ever seen face to face and I've been floating in a fog of euphoria ever since.
A little history on the Lukasa (nkasa - plural). These wooden memory boards are used by Luba kings, diviners, geneologists and court historians in the Congo. The Lukasa is a memory aid, a means for evoking events, places and names which assist in initiation ceremonies. According to the book I have, A History of Art in Africa, "It stimulates thought and instructs in sacred lore, culture heroes, migrations, and sacred rule". "A configuration of beads, shells and pins coded by size and colour on one side may refer to kings' lists. Beads may stand for individuals, a large bead encircled by smaller ones perhaps representing a chief and his entourage. Bead arrangements also refer to proverbs and praise phrases" as well as migratory paths and roads.
On with the story......
Coming out of the bead shop I noticed a new shop next door filled with eye catching artifacts. A magnificent shield from Afghanistan, several unusual scrap metal sculptures, many African carvings ................and two beautiful nkasa. I think my heart stopped beating for a moment and way deep in my foggy brain a voice insisted that it couldn't be what I thought it was. Then my heart kicked into overdrive.....because it really was a Lukasa now nestling in my hand. I was looking down at the ancient history of a particular tribe.....there .... in MY hand.
I had enough cash on me to buy one of the Lukasas but when M saw the look on my face he said "Look Babe, this doesn't happen often...you've worked hard and you deserve it." and then the dear man promptly bought me the other one. So now I am the beaming owner of two nkasa :-)
The next time I go I'll take you all along for a browse. On this occasion I left my camera. The shop is simple with carefully selected items, obviously chosen for their aesthetic beauty....but what I haven't been able to get my head around and I'm still puzzling over it two days later is the fact that in one corner amidst the stunning artifacts, was a small rack of very sexy red and black lingerie. I stopped in my tracks feeling slightly confused. Wha???