This comprehensive book traces the history and development of visual traditions in the Kongo religions of Africa and Cuba (where it is known as Palo Monte).
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Written symbols, religious objects, oral traditions, and body language have long been integrated into the Kongo system of graphic writing of the Bakongo people in Central Africa as well as their Cuban descendants. The comprehensive Kongo Graphic Writing and Other Narratives of the Sign provides a significant overview of the social, religious, and historical contexts in which the Kongo kingdom developed and spread to the Caribbean.
Author Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz, a practitioner of the Palo Monte devotional arts, illustrates with graphics and rock art how the Bakongo’s ideographic and pictographic signs are used to organize daily life, enable interactions between humans and the natural and spiritual worlds, and preserve and transmit cosmological and cosmogonical belief systems.
Exploring cultural diffusion and exchange, collective memory and identity, Kongo Graphic Writing and Other Narratives of the Sign artfully brings together analyses of the complex interconnections among Kongo traditions of religion, philosophy and visual/gestural communication on both sides of the African Atlantic world.
Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz is an Assistant Professor in the African Art and Its Diaspora/Latin American and Caribbean Arts at Stanford University.
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