African space/time concepts and the Tusona ideographs in Luchazi culture


  • Gerhard Kubik Cultural scientist, Vienna



Tusona ideographs and amadinda compositions are not merely ‘art’ or ‘music’ in the Western sense. They are little closed systems of functional and causal relationships, little universes without exits. The minds who created them must have been researchers in the basic sense of the word. By creating the self-contained mini-universes of these configurations they also created mini-replicas of what our macro-universe may ultimately be like. They discovered abstract relationships which are not man-made, which come about and exist without human deliberation. And it must have become an immense passion once these ancients were on the track of such discoveries. The infinite proliferations in both traditions are proof enough of a persevering experimental spirit behind them.


Bastin, Marie-Louise 1961 Art Decoratif Tshokwe. Lisboa.

Baumann, H. 1935 Lunda. Bei Bauern und Jägern in Inner-Angola.

Ergebnisse der Angola-Expedition des Museums für Völkerkunde, Berlin. Berlin.
1954 "Vorläufiger Bericht fiber Felsbilderfunde in Süd-Angola", Paideuma, Vol.6, No.1.

Kachinyeka, K. 1973 Vihandyeka vya mana - Sayings of wisdom, Acta Ethnologica et Linguistica Nr. 30, Series Africana 8. Wien.

Elliott, J. 1979 "The relationship between painting and scripts", in Justine Cordwell(Ed.): The visual arts, plastic and graphic. The Hague: Mouton Publishers.

Ervedosa, C. 1980 Arqueologia angolana. Luanda: Ministério da Educação República Popular de Angola.

Franca, C. 1953 "As gravuras rupestres do Tchitundo-hulo (Deserto de Moçâmedes)", Mensário Administrativo, No. 65/66. Luanda.
HAMELBERGER, E. 1951 "Ecrit sur le sable", Annales Spriritaines 61e ann. Paris.
1952 "A escrita na areia", Portugal em Africa, Vol. IX.

Jaritz, W. 1983 "Ãœber Bahnen auf Billardtischen oder: eine mathematische Untersuchung von Ideogramme angolanischer Herkunft", Mathematisch-statisiche Sektion, Research Centre A-8010 Graz, Austria, Steyrergasse 17, Bericht nr. 207. Graz.

Jung, C.G. 1950 Gestaltungen des Unbewussten Zurich: Rascher Verlag.
1974 (and M.-L. von Franz, Joseph L. Henderson, Jolande Jacobi, Anela Jaffé): (2nd ed.) Man and his symbols. London: Aldus Books, Jupiter Books.

Kubik, G. 1964 "Xylophone playing in Southern Uganda", Journal of Royal Anthropological Inst., Vol. 94, Part 2.
1969 "Composition techniques in Kiganda xylophone music with an introduction into some Kiganda musical concepts", African Music, Vol. 3, No. 3. Corrigenda in African Music, Vol. 4, No. 4. 1970. Supplementary remarks in African Music, Vol. 5, No. 2. 1972 (Letters to the Editor, pp. 114-5).
1975 "Kulturelle und spachliche Feldforschungen in Nordwest-Zambia, 1971 und 1973", Bulletin of the International Committee on Urgent Anthropological and Ethnological Research, No. 17.
1978 Review of Emil Pearson's "People of the aurora", (San Diego, 1977) Review of Ethnology, Vol. 5 No. 11-14.
1981 Mukanda na makisi - Circumsision school and masks. Double LP record with commentary. Museum Collection Berlin (West) MC 11, Ed. Artur Simon. Berlin.
1982 "Erziehungssysteme in ost-und zentralafrikanischen Kulturen - Forschungsansätze, -methoden und -ergebnisse", Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien, CXII.
1977 (with F. Balyebonera, E. Kongola, A. Lyoba, A.M.T. Mabele and J.S.

Mugangala): Recording and classification of oral literature in Tanzania and some other parts of Africa. Papers presented during the Seminar on Oral Literature, Sept. 20-26, 1976. Dar es Salaam: Goethe-Institut.

Tusona - Luchazi ideographs. A graphic tradition practised by a people of West-Central Africa. Wien-F6hrenau: Verlag. E. Stiglmayr. (in press)

Mubitana, K. 1970 "Form and significance in the art of the Lunda, Luvale, Luchazi and Chokwe of Zambia. A Boasian approach", Zambia Museums Journal, Vol. 1.

Murdock, G.P. 1967 Ethnographic Atlas, University of Pittsburgh.

Pearson, E. 1977 People of the aurora. San Diego: Beta books.

Phillison, D.W. 1977 The later prehistory of eastern and southern Africa. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd.

Redinha, J. 1948 "As gravuras rupestres do Alto Zambeze e a primeira tentativa da sua interpretação", Publicafies Culturais do Museo do Dundo, No. 2. Lisboa: Companhia de Diamantes de Angola.
1975 Etnias e culturas de Angola. Luanda: Instituto de Investigação Cientifica de Angola.
dos SANTOS, E. 1961 Contribuição para o estudo das pictografias e ideogramas dos Quiocos. Estudos sobre a Etnologia do. Ultramar Português, Vol. 8, No. 84.

Simon, A. (Ed) 1983 Musik in Afrika. Mit 20 Beiträgen zur Kenntnis traditioneller afrikanischer Musikkulturen von A.M. Dauer, L. Gerhardt, H. Jungraithmayr, G. Kubik, A. Simon, H.H. Wängler und 2 Cassetten. Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin-West.

Tracey, A. 1970 How to play the mbira (dza vadzimu). Roodepoort, S.A.: International Library of African Music.

Vergani de A. ARMITAGE, M.T. 1981 Analyse numérique des idéogrammes tshikwe de l'Angola. expressions symboliques du nombre dans une culture traditionelle africaine. Dissertation. Facultä de Psychologie et de l'Education, Universitä de Genève (Suisse).

Zaslavsky, C. 1979 Africa counts, Number and pattern in African culture. Westpoint, Conn.: Lawrence Hill.




How to Cite

Kubik, Gerhard. 1987. “African space/Time Concepts and the Tusona Ideographs in Luchazi Culture”. African Music : Journal of the International Library of African Music 6 (4):53-89.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 > >>