The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia / Edition 1

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Overview


The Silk Road, a series of ancient trade routes stretching across Central Asia to Europe, evokes exotic images of camel trains laden with bales of fine Chinese silk, spices, and perfume, of desert oases surrounded by snow-capped mountains, of bustling markets thronging with travellers buying and selling grapes, coriander, Baltic amber, and Mediterranean coral. Along this route, silks were sent from China to ancient Rome; princesses were dispatched in marriage alliances across the deserts; bandits and thieves launched attacks throughout history.

Covering more than 5,000 years, this book, lavishly illustrated with photographs, manuscripts, and paintings from the collections of the British Library and other museums worldwide, presents an overall picture of the history and cultures of the Silk Road. It also contains many previously unpublished photographs by the great explorers Stein, Hedin, and Mannerheim.

More than just a trade route, the Silk Road witnessed the movement of cultural influences. Frances Wood traces the story of the civilizations and ideas that flourished and moved along its vast geographical expanse. Indian Buddhism was carried into China on the Silk Road, initiating a long history of pilgrimages along the lonely desert routes; Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity, and Islam also made their way eastwards along its route.

The nineteenth century saw a new interest in Central Asia and the Silk Road, as Russia and Britain vied for power on the frontiers of Afghanistan. A new breed of explorer, part archaeologist, part cartographer, part spy, was seen on the Silk Road, while some of the ancient cities, long buried in sand-blown dunes, began to give up their secrets. This book brings the history of the Silk Road alive--from its beginnings to the present day, revealing a rich history still in the making.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520243408
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/20/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 722,435
  • Product dimensions: 7.25 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Frances Wood is Head of the Chinese section at The British Library. Her previous publications include Did Marco Polo Go To China? (1995), No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port Life in China 1843-1943 (1998), Hand Grenade Practice in Peking: My Part in the Cultural Revolution (2000), and Blue Guide to China (revised edition, 2002).
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Table of Contents

Note on spellings 7
1 'A ceaselessly flowing stream of life' 9
2 Coiled dragons and filmy fleeces: jade and silk 26
3 From Greece and Rome to China - and back again 36
4 A people abandoned by Heaven: the Xiongnu and trade during the Han dynasty 48
5 The spread of trade and religions: Tocharians and Sogdians 61
6 The fashion for all things Central Asian 75
7 The Caves of the Thousand Buddhas: Buddhism on the Silk Road 88
8 Tanguts, Mongols, Nestorians and Marco Polo 111
9 A parterre of roses: travellers to Ming China and Samarkand 130
10 The Great Game and the Silk Road 147
11 Asia held them captive in her cold embrace: explores on the Silk Road 165
12 Trophies and tiger entrails: hunting and theorising on the Silk Road 180
13 Securing specimens: Aurel Stein 191
14 An end to excavation: Pelliot, von Le Coq and Warner 208
15 The Baby General: travel on the Silk Road in the 1930s 223
Epilogue: The Silk Road today 243
References 247
List of Illustrations 255
Acknowledgements 259
Index 261
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2009

    horrible

    the book is very boring and makes you want to fall asleep

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 11, 2010

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    Posted December 6, 2009

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    Posted December 27, 2012

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