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The Chokwe constitute the largest ethnic group in eastern Angola. They have also spread to the DRC and Zambia. They are governed by a king, who distributes hunting grounds and cultivated areas; while the male Mugonge society and female Ukule societies regulate their social life. The Chokwe grow manioc, cassava, yams, and peanuts. Tobacco and hemp are also grown for snuff, and maize is grown for beer. They also keep livestock: sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens. The farming and processing of agricultural products is done almost exclusively by women. Men are also great hunters and collectors of honey. Chokwe sculptors were the most famous of the region and have influenced the art of many neighboring peoples. This figure commemorates Chibinda Ilunga, the royal Luba hunter who revitalized Lunda notions of royalty and introduced the concept of “sacred kingship.” In this sculptor celebrating Chibinda as a hunter-hero and male role model, he holds a staff and a horn containing substances that supernaturally assist the hunt. The ceremonial function of the rising element is a mystery. The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art has a number of wonderful examples of Chibinda Llunga statues. All are made to resemble the legendary hunter, yet each one has its own character and characteristic portraying the local chief.
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