Frances Wood - The Silk Road. PDF

PDF THE SILK ROAD.(2002).Frances Wood.****.
This was a special publication of The Folio Society, a worthy addition to any armchair traveler’s library.Imagine you are on vacation.Starting out from Anxi, you go on to Hami, then Bezeklik, then Turfan, and Karashahr, to Kucha, to Aksu and Tumchug, and finally reach Balkh.Where are you?You are on the northern route of the Great Silk Road, wondering how you will ever walk again after you get down from your camel.As you may have guessed, the Great Silk Road was a principal trade route in olden times.Today, it is a tourist destination for, mostly, Chinese and Russians.The route skirts the top of the world, above Kashmir and Tibet and Nepal.Just the route outlined above took 30 days by camel – about 500 miles.It was the principal method of allowing trade between China and Europe in such luxury goods as silk and jade.The author goes further than the description of sites along the way; the development and influences of various religions in the region are also recorded.For example, the “dates of the prophet Zarathustra or Zoroaster are uncertain.Some place him in the thirteenth century BC, others in the sixth century BC, and his origins similarly are set as far apart as Azerbaijan and Mongolia…Zoroastrianism was adopted by a number of Sogdians who carried it along the Silk Roads, into China where it was tolerated for a while during the Tang, and into India where it still survives.”Among the varieties of religious expression present in the region, we can also trace Manicheism to Mesopotamia with the prophet Mani.His teaching prospered in the Silk Road region.If you are willing to skim a few chapters, like me, because of ignorance of the land and peoples, you will still come across items of interest that ought to be familiar.The author discusses a variety of travel books about the region.Included among them is Marco Polo.Most people knew that he was telling fibs, but at least they were entertaining.One of the key features of the book is the remarkable number of illustrations, both those of the region, and those of the art of the time.I enjoyed this book.Recommended.

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