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Notable books of 1980 -- a checklist; ART/PHOTOGRAPHY

AFGHANISTAN: Paradise Lost, by Roland and Sabrina Michaud. New York: The Vendome Press. $45. With 14 pages of text and 98 stark and stunning color photos taken before the Soviet invasion, the authors, who spent 14 years in Afghanistan, breathe vitality into a hard but serene way of life now fighting for survival.

IN CHINA, by Eve Arnold. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc. $30. Picture-book lovers haven't truly glimpsed today's China until they have seen the 170 magnificent color photos in this book, compiled from the photojournalist's 40, 000-mile, five-month journey through that vast country in 1979.

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THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, by Howard Hibbard. New york: Harper & Row. entertaining, and illuminating text, well-chosen illustrations (over half of which are in color), and detailed captions covering the highlights of the Met's collection.

PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THE TSAR: The Pioneering Color Photography of Sergei Mikhailovich Prodkudin Gorskii, Commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II, edited and with an introduction by Robert H. allshouse. New York: The Dial Press. $35. A remarkable collection of 450 photos of Russia's people, natural beauties, monuments, and historical places, photographed between 1909 and 1915 by a pioneer in color work.

TREASURES OF AFRICAN ART, by Malcolm McLeod. New York: Abbeville Press. $25 . This book's excellent color photography and clear, crisp text offers the best argument imaginable for the greatness of African art.