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The Teke, or Bateke, people are found in the Congo Republics and Gabon areas of Africa. They are well known as traders. The name Teke means “to buy.” The Teke live along the banks of the Congo River, where they have an established commercial reputation.

It is in the area of energetic African art in the form of small figurines and masks that the Teke are most significant in a religious way. The Teke are generally known for their sculptured ancestral figures, called butti and nkir, which serve in the use of a wide range of supernatural forces sent from the ancestral realm. They can be made in the form of shells, boxes, or small figures created out of stone or wood. Neither the butti nor ...

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