406 IVORY AND THE ELEPHANT
in 1905 in the Indian Colonial Exhibition at the Crystal Palace,
London. They are now owned by Mr. H. J. Heinz of Pittsburg, Pa.
elephants of Bamba, a province of Congo, were reputed to attain a very
great size, so that, in the words of John Ogilby: "Some of their teeth
weigh'd about two hundredweight: in Congoish Language such a tooth
they call 'Mene-Manzo.'" This writer says that many tusks, "scurfed or
hollow," were found in the wilderness, having become so by exposure to
rain and wind, and he also states that such a great abundance of ivory
had been brought from this region since the early part of the century,
that when he wrote, in 1670, the supply had begun to diminish, as the
natives were obliged to go farther into the interior of the country
to secure the material.* This may seem strange in view of the enormous
quantity of ivory brought from the Congo region later, and down to our
day, but three hundred years ago only a small part of this immense
country was in any way accessible to travellers.
Nyami, or chief ruler of the Bushongo in the Congo region, always
establishes his permanent abode in a place chosen, at his accession, as
the royal capital. On very rare occasions, however, he travels through
the territory occupied by the tribes which acknowledge his authority.
On such occasions, it is, and has been, customary to set up a fine
elephant's tusk that serves as the back of the royal seat, on his
arrival at any considerable settlement where he is to break his
journey. When this tusk has been so honoured, it is left in its place
after the Nyami's departure, and becomes a memento of the royal favour.
The most celebrated of these Bushango chiefs was Shamba Balongongo, who
reigned about 1600 A. D. A Belgian scientific expedition was recently
permitted to take away an exceptionally fine,
♦John Ogilby, "Africe," London, 1670, p. 529.