Echoes From The Past: Interpreting Zimbabwe’s Decorative Symbols.
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.