Chokwe People, Angola/NWZambia/SW DR Congo
This is an extremely rare example of a Chokwe tablets made into book form by Chokwe shamans. This “talking book” was collected by the African researcher and author Marcus Matte during Chokwe shaman training in NE Zambia. It is carved of two pieces of hardwood bound together, with images in relief. The front of the “book” is its face. According to Chokwe legend, star people came down to earth in a distant past and are the ancestors of the Chokwe alive today. A “book” is used by a shaman to remember the origin story and point the way to the origin star. This “book” has clearly had extraordinary use. According to Matte, the tablet with long curved lines and dots represents either the Milky Way or the stars in the Orion constellation, while the tablet with circular design represents the Pleiades. The Chokwe home star is said to be located on Orion’s belt.