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Beijing exhibition explores the ancient Silk Road

By He Zhuoyan, Morag Hobbs (People's Daily Online)    14:08, April 18, 2019

The ancient Silk Road stretched for tens of thousands of kilometers and lasted for thousands of years. This exhibition brings together 234 pieces from 13 countries along the Belt and Road including China, Cambodia and Russia, to show exactly how the Silk Road affected early globalization.

The connection between China and western Eurasia has existed since prehistoric times. Wheat, cattle, sheep and bronze casting – the most important domesticated species and handicraft technique during prehistoric times and the Bronze age, were introduced from West Asia and the Persian Plateau via the Silk Road. Bronze was first used to form tools and weapons. Once in China, it was used to make everything from pots to money.

This Roman glass is from the 1st century A.D and is usually housed in the National Museum of Slovenia. Roman glass found its way along the length of the ancient Silk Road, after the technique of glass blowing was first created and then put into mass production towards the end of the first century AD.

Later, in the 16th Century, the Maritime Silk road became a vital link in the early era of globalization. Porcelains, silks and other goods were shipped from China, through Africa, to Europe, and European silver continuously flowed into China.

The exhibition shows treasures that left China hundreds of years ago, only to find their way back for this very exhibition. For example, various Qing Dynasty enamel and porcelain are on display from the Polish National Museum collection, as well as Southern Song Dynasty pieces from the Oman National Museum.

Of course, it wasn’t only weaponry or fancy items that found their way along the Silk Road, but also spirituality. Take, for example, the "Joy Diamond" painted with gold bronze, from the National Museum of Cambodia.

Mahayana Buddhist Tantra spread in Cambodia from the 10th to 11th centuries AD, after being spread along the Silk Road in other forms from India to China and then through South East Asia.

The exhibition will run from April 11th to July 14th at the National Museum of China. 

Previous StoryChina stages exhibition to show cultural exchanges along Silk Road

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(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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