Democratic Republic of the Congo

Living on the left bank of the Zaire River are the Lengola people, who number 100,000. Several ethnicities are also found in this region -- the Mbole, the Yela, and the Metoko, and among them it is difficult to distinguish since their social structure is similar.  They make their living from banana farming and hunting. The Butoka society regulates their social, political and economic activities. The Lengola had rituals of circumcision and initiation. Divided into lineages, they are very intricately crossed to the point where statues sculpted by one group may be found among another. Lengola produce large statues Butoka, which are made of six pieces of wood and have apotropaic functions and ensure social stability. Abstract, polychrome masks were used during the closing initiation rite, when the statues would be ceremonially brought out. Masks, somewhat influenced by Lega style, are also produced.

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