This wide-ranging and beautifully produced collection of essays, edited by Gülru Necipoğlu and Alina Payne, addresses the role of ornament in architecture and the decorative arts in light of its recent revival in cutting-edge architecture and design. The publisher's description presents Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local as “the first major global history of ornament from the Middle Ages to today”; this is not a comprehensive survey, however, but an episodic study, composed of twenty-six individual contributions arranged thematically rather than chronologically. The result of a conference held at Harvard in 2012, it features many scholars with ties to that university. The coverage is impressively wide-ranging but...

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