by Nenad M. Djurdjevic and Judith Mann
Available evidence clearly attests to the antiquity of the ichi pictograph represented on the Old European Grail Bowl, going back 7,000 years in time when a Goddess-oriented civilization in Europe existed. Lithuanian archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, who dedicated her lifetime to the study of Old European cultures based on matrilineal societies, once declared that: "The Parthogenetic Goddess has been the most persistent feature in the archaeological record (of Old Europe)."
The ichi pictograph inside the Grail Bowl thus consolidates the notion of a sacred vessel understood as the primary symbol of female power, conveying the image of a female deity of motherly strength and energy.
This idea is mirrored by the labyrinthine pattern on the outside of the bowl representing the bowels of the earth or undergound labyrinths conceived as the abode of the Earth goddess and her conglomerate of secrets, based on the notion of woman as container. Additionally, as in African mystical traditions, the vertical arrow-shaped zigzag pattern on the stem is a clear reference to the watery pillars of creation and healing powers of the goddess.
In African sacred art, among the different geometric lines, the peculiar X-shaped ichi marks are replicated in facial scarifications, on dozens of artifacts unearthed at Igbo-Ukwu, Ikom monoliths, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, and even as far as India, South America, Australia, and now Old Europe. All ancient cultures carry that unique Igbo identity and culture.
Among the Igbo of Nigeria Ichi is the symbol of the sun, a word derived from another name of the sun/daylight, chi, which is also the name of the spirit of God in Man. From the Igbo word ichi originated the Greek word Χριστός: Christ, as well as Ich-thys, the fish symbol associated with Christ as a godman by adherents of the Christian faith.
According to the evidence, Igbo titled men and women bore the characteristic ichi marks (see Acholonu C. "Motherism the Afrocentric Alternative to Feminism," 1995). In the Nag Hammadi scrolls it is said that God is both Mother, Father and Child, but that its known manifestation is female. We can therefore conclude that the four-sided ichi pictograph (and its variations – the equal-armed cross, the X within a square, etc.) is a female symbol, a representation of the mother essence in the Godhead (Acholonu C. "The Origin of the Igbo ─ The Chosen People of the True God and the Never Been Ruled," 2008).
So we can see that the symbols that appear on the Old Europe Grail Bowl are also repeated in the ancient African tradition of decorating the human body with paintings, tattoos and scarifications of sacred symbols or signs which later evolved into the letters of the first alphabets. Since the time of the earliest successful migrations "out of Africa," many traditional religious beliefs and practices from Africa were passed down from one generation to another throughout the human saga.
Yet, since the arrival of first explorers in the 15th century the peoples and cultures of Africa were outside of the interest of western historians, for whom Europe was the center of history. What lay behind this attitude was a persistent belief that, in the absence of written texts and archaeologically significant monuments, and short of the Sudanese Pyramids, Black African civilization did not really have any history.
However, despite such a miopic scholarly attitude, the old stereotypic ideas which have relegated Africa to the fringes of history are dying out. Ideas about African civilizations are now being completely transformed. Recent evidence brought to light through archaeology, ethnography and graphology clearly point to the great span of African history and Africa's undeniable contribution to world civilization in terms of spoken or written language, mathematics, cosmology, agriculture, architecture, metal-working, religion, etc.
For example, the world's oldest mathematical object found between South Africa and Swaziland and known as the Lebombo bone, is dated at 37,000 years BCE. The Lebombo bone is very similar to the calendar sticks still used by Bushmen clans in Nimibia today. From Catherine Acholonu's research work we learn that stick writing, which afterwards turned into writing on standing stones, was practiced in Africa long before it was inherited by ancient cultures of the British Isles.
Acholonu's research work also revealed a similarity in style and pattern in the use of geometric signs and body language of figures as well as a similarity of imageries suggesting that different cultures across the globe shared a school of thought with West African cultures such as the Ashanti, Akan, Yoruba, Benin, Igala, and Igbo in particular.
If we go even further back, we learn from a recent archaeological find in Botswana made by Associate Professor Sheila Coulson, from the University of Oslo, that our ancestors in Africa engaged in ritual practice 70,000 years ago — 30,000 years earlier than the oldest finds in Europe.
Sheila Coulson's find shows that the San people had a specific Python ritual held in a little cave on the northern side of the Tsodilo Hills. It is the first solid archaeological evidence to demonstrate that early Homo sapiens may have been more advanced in many ways long before it was thought to be possible. It becomes clear that Africa was not just the place that people became physically modern, but that many culturally modern practices were present in Africa long before they appeared in Europe.