of trees and kings: politics and metaphor among the Aluund of Southwestern Zaire



By means of a detailed analysis of the relationship between the political body and a particular species of tree among the Aluund of Southwestern Zaire, this article demonstrates the specific ways in which traditional political structure and ideology are constituted by ritual and vice versa. Secondly, it offers a reflection upon the ways in which vernacular concepts are translated into anthropological metalanguage and presents a reconsideration of the currently used concepts of symbol and metaphor. [Central Africa, enthronement ritual, kingship, metaphor theory, personhood, tree symbolism]