ISBN 9780797450141
Pages 98
Dimensions 280 x 210mm
Illustrations Colour Photographs
Published 2016
Publisher AmaGugu Publishers, Zimbabwe
Format Paperback

Echoes from the Past

Interpreting Zimbabwe’s Decorative Symbols

by Pathisa Nyathi, Kudzai Chikomo

A meaningful and sustainable interpretation of decorative symbols found on Zimbabwe's items of material culture among the various ethnic groups is one that recognizes their fundamental cosmologies, world-views, beliefs, axiologies and epistemologies relating to nature, the universe, interpersonal and inter-group relations and, above all, the critical goals that a community seeks to attain. Where there is a community there must, of necessity, be communication channels that ensure social cohesion and commitment to one vision and mission. Geometric decorative symbols, which are the subject of this book, belong to the visual arts, a genre that communicates  fundamental messages effortlessly and beautifully! Aesthetics, cosmology and axiology combine within the context of a functional object and effectively express a community's total culture. At one time long ago, functionality and aesthetics  were Siamese twins, intricately woven into one. However, over time resident meanings and messages were lost while aesthetic traditions,on account of their appeal and allure,continued, albeit limping on one leg, without their original partner-the underlying message being conveyed for posterity. This book seeks to capture the lost messages that are resident in the decorative symbols, apparently all of which carry the same meaning-one of CONTINUITY. Diversity of expression does not take away Africa's main preoccupation which is ensuring the continuity of the natural environment on the one hand and the family lineage, community and society on the other.

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About the Author

Pathisa Nyathi

Pathisa Nyathi is a published poet, playwright, historian and biographer. He is a columnist for the Sunday News, Umthunywa, The Sunday Mirror and Sky Host in Zimbabwe. His creative writing appears in the anthology Short Writings from Bulawayo.

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