Craftsmanship of Art is the culmination of a lifetime’s fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific. It ranges around the world and through time with many references to stone-age and bronze-age culture in Europe and the Middle East as well as to more 'anthropological' research further afield. It makes particular reference to the Kilenge people of Papua New Guinea where the author spent many years on and off. The cumulative effect is of an exhaustive exploration of human art and craft and the search for a universal definition of what art actually is. Since anthropology seeks the humanitas in human beings, Professor Dark contends, a vital key to such an understanding of art lies in the genius of artists and craftsmen and in how their artifacts are appreciated and communicated in different cultures. The text is illustrated by over seven hundred illustrations by Mavis Dark and is followed by a full index and bibliography.
Professor Dark of Illinois University was a hero of the raid on St. Nazaire during World War II and became interested in anthropology while a prisoner of war in northern Germany. This is the last book to be published by Professor Dark before he died.