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The strict prohibition on the representation of the human form has channelled artistic creation into architectureal decoration. There is a basic simplicity of lifestyle among the rich and poor which permeates the whole of Asia, so that purely decorative objects, such as are found in the West, are frowned upon. This book is a magical tour through Central Asia--Khirgizia, Tadjikistan, Turkmenia, and Uzbekistan-a cradle of Ancient civilisations and a repository of the oriental arts inspired by Buddhism and Islam. There are magnificent, full-color photographs of the abandoned cities of Mervand Urgench, Khiva, the capital of the Kharezm, with its mausoleum of Shiekh Seid Allhuddin, and "The Golden Road to Samarkand," the Blue City, a center of civilization for 2,500 years.