Stretching from the ancient Chinese capital of Xian across the expanses of Central Asia to Rome, the Silk Road was, for 1,500 years, a vibrant network of arteries that carried the lifeblood of nations across the world. Along a multitude of routes everything was exchanged: exotic goods, art, knowledge, religion, philosophy, disease and war. From the East came silk, precious stones, tea, jade, paper, porcelain, spices and cotton; from the West, horses, weapons, wool and linen, aromatics, entertainers and exotic animals. From its earliest beginnings in the days of Alexander the Great and the Han dynasty, the Silk Road expanded and evolved, reaching its peak during the Tang dynasty and the Byzantine Empire and gradually withering away with the decline of the Mongol Empire.
In this beautifully illustrated book, which covers the China section of the Silk Road - from Xian through Loulan, Korla, Turfan and Khotan to Kashgar and onwards to India - Jonathan Tucker uses travellers' anecdotes and a wealth of literary and historical sources to celebrate the cultural heritage of the countries that lie along the Silk Road and illuminate the lives of those who once travelled through the very heart of the world.
List of Illustrations
Foreword by Paul Theroux
Note on the Translation of Poetry and Prose
Introduction : The Early Development of the Silk Road, Principal Routes and Goods Carried
1.Precursors of the Silk Road
2. The Introduction of Buddhism to China
3. The Old Capital of Luoyang
4. The Old Capital of Changan
5. The Silk Road Between Xian and Dunhuang : The Route West from Xian
6. The Silk Road Through China Beyond Dunhunag : The Northern Silk Road and Southern Silk Road
7. The Silk Road Between China and India Including the Karakorum Highway
8. The End of the Road: The Silk Road in Decline