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Nothing can catapult you into the highest stratum of intellectuality, quite as readily  as books.

With art books alone, you're assured your place in the sun. Not only do they include some of the highest priced books in the market, they have the most lavish illustrations as well. 'Art books' is a catchphrase that includes a number of subjects: jewellery, gold, precious stones, fashions, watches, clocks, famous designers - Cartier and Van Cleef and Arpes, for example.
  Then, there are books on travel : the course of the Brahmaputra, expeditions into the mountains, Papua New Guinea - take your pick. There are also books on collectibles, that span the range of everything from beads to shells to Impressionist paintings and famille verte porcelain. Several deal with a specific museum or private collector, like that of the Heeramaneck's collection of Indian miniatures

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The whole point about art books is the wide division in their subjects: some address the specialist, others the layman. An example of the latter, is a book on the carpets of the world; the former would be a book with a much narrower field: 18th century tribal rugs of the Caucasus, or Tibetan medical paintings.  More for the specialist, than the general are the limited edition books with reproductions of rare lithographs and illustrations. The cost? Rs. 35,000. If that doesn't make you gasp, try this: Rs.18,000 for a book of panormaic shots on India by Jaroslav Poncar with individual slipcoves. It may be a lot of money for a book, but as an heirloom, it's going cheap. When your great-grand children grow up, it may cost a whole lot more. And many of the monuments featured in it, may have crumbled to dust by then.

 
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