TRIBAL AFRICAN ART

BUYU (BOYO, BUYE, BABUYE, BASIKASINGO, Bembe and Wagoma)

The Buyu live in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, they occupy a small area between the Lualaba River and the northwestern end of Lake Tanganyika. In this region overrun by innumerable shifts in population, groups of diverse origins coexisted in the same village: Lega, Bembe, Buyu, Bangubangu, and Binji, all of whose primary activity would be the hunt. The Buyu population is declining and their culture disintegrating due to the expansion of the Bembe over the past 65 years into their territory. Unlike the Bembe, the Buyu tribe is largely matrilineal (the son belongs to the mother’s lineage). Among the six clans that form the Buyu tribe, three are known predominantly for their male and female ancestor figures. These venerated chiefs of the Buyu led migrations, founded villages, or provided exceptional leadership. The Buyu worship to nature spirits and to ancestors. When bad luck arrives, they try to understand the will of the ancestors either through dream interpretation or divination. The Buyu immortalized their chiefs and ancestors in vigorous figures characterized by a round face, globular eyes, square shoulders, and bulging trunk. These figures are kept in small huts and displayed in series of five to seven, and have either a beneficial or a malefic influence on everyday life, so they require a cult and associated offerings. Sometimes bust figures were also left outside the ancestor shrine, either in the village or in the forest. 

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