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17. Bayaka elephant hunting in Congo: the importance of ritual and technique

Lewis, J; (2021) 17. Bayaka elephant hunting in Congo: the importance of ritual and technique. In: Konidaris, G and Barkai, R and Tourloukis, V and Harvati, K, (eds.) Human-elephant interactions: from past to present. (pp. 439-453). Tübingen University Press: Tübingen. Green open access

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Abstract

This chapter offers preliminary observations of Mbendjele BaYaka hunter-gatherer elephant hunting in the Republic of Congo. Elephant hunting has a long history in this region and the BaYaka tradition described here appears to be part of this. Elephants pose real danger to humans and killing one with a spear is daunting. Hunters take significant risks to approach and kill these huge animals, and this may partially account for the importance of rituals associated with elephant hunting. The success of elephant hunting crucially depends on women’s ritual work in catching the elephant first and pressurizing the men to go out for it. The women’s rituals also remove the potential for status accumulation by elephant hunters by attributing their success to women. Traditional techniques for killing elephants and how they are learned through games and multimodal storytelling styles are described. The role of a ritual association for elephant hunters to learn to read elephant behavior and to share mystical and practical techniques for hunting elephants is presented. In the context of spearing elephants, daring to try may be as important as knowing how.

Type: Book chapter
Title: 17. Bayaka elephant hunting in Congo: the importance of ritual and technique
ISBN-13: 978-3-947251-34-6
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.15496/publikation-55604
Publisher version: http://tuebingen-university-press.de/
Language: English
Additional information: Dieses Werk ist unter einer Creative Commons Lizenz vom Typ Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0 International zugänglich. Um eine Kopie dieser Lizenz einzusehen, konsultieren Sie http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ oder wenden Sie sich brieflich an Creative Commons, Postfach 1866, Mountain View, California, 94042, USA.
Keywords: Congo elephant hunters; spear hunting techniques; gender relations ritual; economics; politics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136886
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