It is significant that the concepts of style and meaning figured prominently in Anthony Forge's anthropology of art. But style was a key term in the study of non-European art, linking it to the fields of art history, archaeology, cultural history and equally to connoisseurship. By focusing on style and meaning, Forge brought together the concerns of the two disciplines — anthropology and art history — and pointed the way to a more challenging and interdisciplinary anthropology of art. To understand Forge's analysis of Abelam art and recognize its originality, it is necessary to see it in the context of its times. Forge defined as ‘abstract’ cases where there was no clear relationship between form and meaning. Representational paintings were ones in which the parts were organized to represent a more encompassing whole, which at one level might be a face, or a person, and at another level might be a mythic episode.