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The 5,000 Ntomba live on the banks of the Lualaba River. They practice slash-and-burn agriculture and live off hunting and fishing, activities always preceded by a sacrifice to the ancestors. Historically, the Ntomba had an appointed leader, but today they live in autonomous farming communities. Owing to their close contact with neighboring tribes, their culture and their stylistic output overlap. The Ntomba artists are mostly known as creators of large anthropomorphic sarcophagi. The functions of these figure-vessels are unknown.