Important Ancestral Teke Figure

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The Teke people occupy the shore of the Congo River, to the north of Kinshasa, in the Pool Malebo, formerly the Stanley Pool. They were in contact with the Portuguese in the 15th century, who knew them as the Anziques (Lehuard 1996, 61; M.-L. Bastin 1984, 295). However, it was only in the 19th century that Europeans met directly with the Teke people: this was when Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza concluded a treaty with the chief in the 1880’s, in the Berlin Conference Period which divided Africa between European empires; and as a result the Teke land belongs to 3 countries today: Gabon, Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo. Serious and systematic ethnographical Teke knowledge began with Raoul Lehuard, who described the Teke statuary in a large corpus. He made a classification and an inventory, with a magical and religious study of the Teke figures. Before his studies, there were only few a works: Olfert Dapper in the 17th century, Maes and Dusselje in the 19th-20th centuries.