"Tribal Art Traffic" traces the movements of hundreds of thousands of masks, statues, amulets, shields, pieces of cloth, utensils, and weapons from overseas tribal cultures to and within North Atlantic societies, in colonial and post colonial times. While the focus is on the relatively small Low Countries and their huge overseas territories, the Belgian Congo and the Netherlands East Indies, related developments in three adjacent colonial powers, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, are also covered, as are links to the United States.
This book charts the means and places through which tribal objects circulated and continue to circulate: colonial trading posts, missionary posts, attics and cellars, living rooms, museums, flea markets, monasteries, auction houses, artists' studios, private collections, and art galleries.
In the second part of the book dealers, collectors, and curators relate their more recent experiences with objects-in-motion. This chronicle of European taste, trade and desire sketches the emergence of a western market for tribal art in the course of the twentieth century.