Bound By Tradition

The Year's outstanding books celebrate past glories of art, architecture and craft

PRE-COLUMBIAN ART AND THE POST-COLUMBIAN WORLD, by Barbara Braun (Abrams; $75). African sculpture and its influence on modern art is well documented. Less so is the effect of ancient American design on 19th and 20th century painters, sculptors and architects. Braun traces the aesthetic roots of artists such as sculptor Henry Moore, painter Paul Klee and architect Frank Lloyd Wright back to the Maya, Aztec and pre-Columbian civilizations of Peru.

GIRLHOOD EMBROIDERY: AMERICAN SAMPLERS AND PICTORIAL NEEDLEWORK, 1650-1850, by Betty Ring (Knopf; $125). For centuries regarded as examples of women's household craft, antique samplers now hang in museums and are coveted...

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