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Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva

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By Pierre Chuvin with photographs by GÚrard Degeorge.

Flammarion, 2003. 232pp. £35 'Without exception, the cities presented in this book were built out of clay, often in its untreated form, ' says Pierre Chuvin; though the images most likely to come to mind at mention of Samarkand are of blue glazed brick and tiles and surfaces entirely given over to pattern - geometric, floral, calligraphic.Focusing primarily on these cities'monuments in different degrees of decay or restoration, GÚrard Degeorge's photographs are rich in colour and embellishment, but show too how variously clay is used in Central Asia - not just to create a shimmering surface but, as bare brick, to accentuate form.The text by Chuvin has substance too.

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