How? The Technological Means
In this chapter we consider the artist primarily as a craftsman. In the broad sense of the word art, ". . . the arts of a people are the skills and techniques they employ in making their tools, implements, and ornaments" ( Whiteford 1970:5)as well as their symbolic statements. Making the distinction between artists and craftsmen often implies a strong value judgment in favor of the former, and tends to obscure our understanding of the arts in various cultural contexts. Some craftsmen have more esthetic sensibility than others, are more creative in that they are always recombining the elements of form and technique, and we may consider the results more artistic in some cases than in others, but all arts involve craftsmanship. It is arbitrary to draw a line between "arts" and "crafts"; a work of art is considered by the observer to be of higher esthetic quality, and usually to be more meaningful than a craft object, but this is a matter of degree.
The description of crafts in this chapter includes several aspects: 1) the actual technique by which various materials are worked, 2) the degree of specialization that is usually associated with the various crafts and 3) the type of persons who are likely to work in a certain craft in societies of various levels of complexity.
The degree of specialization of the artist is roughly correlated with the complexity of the society in which he works. Thus in many very small societies, "everyone is an artist", in the sense of making things by hand, and no one is a full time professional. Nevertheless, it seems to be the case that some persons specialize to some degree because of their personal interests and capabilities. The person drawn to one art form or another will tend to do it in his spare time, and to pay more attention to the similar work of others. While the selection of a person for particular artistic tasks may be largely a matter of social position -- as relationship to the deceased in Arnhemland funeral rites -- it usually happens that there are several persons in the right relationship, so that the work is to some degree