Artist/thearts; Treasures of African Art, by Malcolm McLeod. New York: Abbeville Press. $25.

I can think of no better argument for the greatness of African art than this book. Anyone who can turn its pages and not be over-whelmed by the sheer quality and diversity of African art is dullard indeed.

But it's not only the art. It's also the excellent color photography, the clear, crisp text, and the beautiful layout of the book itself which creates this impression.

From beginning to end, from the ravishing picture of the "Benin Hornblower," from the various masks, the great "Ife Head," a number of extraordinary fetishes , animal figures, screens, Benin royal plaques, the magnificent ivory leopards, to the stunning "Benin Ivory Mask," we are presented with one master-piece after another.

If there is only one art book on the reader's Christmas gift list for either a friend or himself, I strongly suggest that this book be it.

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