Luba (Baluba, Kaluba, Louba, Uruwa,
Memory Board or Lukasa. Among Luba, oral traditions most closely associated with royal history were dependent upon visual memory devices. These oral charters were sacred, to be guarded and disseminated by a politico-religious association called Mbudye. Mbudye historians were rigorously trained men of memory who could recite genealogists, king lists, and all the episodes in the founding charter of kingship. Principal among Luba memory devices is the lukasa, a flat, hand-sized wooden object stubbed with beads and covered with bas-relief ideograms. During Mbudye rituals, a lukasa is used to teach neophytes sacred lore about culture heroes, clan migrations, and the introduction of sacred rule. A lukasa is a most important device of Luba royal history. The colors and configurations of beads and ideograms on a lukasa indicate the codes of kingship through a fan of connotations triggering remembrance of deeds and exploits, qualities and physical appearance. Three heads at the top allude to the head of the Mbudye Association flanked by his two senior officers.
Material: wood, beads
Size: H. 11½, W. 7, D. 1½.