The statuary of southwestern Gabon and the Republic of Congo has been mostly investigated through the prism of style. Attempts were previously made to establish ethnic ascriptions of these objects, while the analysis of transborder institutions actually shows that artefacts and styles transgress ethnic boundaries. The study of the Mboyo or Boyo, a little-known initiation society, reveals the contribution of these institutions to this dispersion. It sheds a new light on a small corpus of reliquary ensembles generally attributed to the Massango and known as mbumba bwete, which is re-interpreted on the basis of ethnographic data, either published or unpublished.
[Equatorial Africa, statuary, initiation societies, Mwiri, Mboyo, Boyo]