Along the Route of the Ancient Silk Road

The diagram indicates the route of the Silk Road from Chinese capital Xi’an via Iran, Russa to Rome in today’s Italy.

In 114 BC, Chinese Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty decided to send Zhang Qian as his envoy to the foreign states on a diplomatic mission.

Zhang Qian and his royal entourage and military guards began their journey from the capital city Chang’an (Xi’an), travelling through today’s Gansu, Xinjiang provinces, via Afghanistan, Iran, Russa, Greek to Rome in today’s Italy, and the path they first trekked soon became the trade route mainly for import jade material from West Asia to China.

For ensuring the safety of the trade, the Great Wall was extended further westwards and a military fortress town with a gate named Jade Pass was built.

Over the next two thousand years, Chinese porcelain, tea and silk products were exported to the world through the route.

In the late 19th century, a German scholar called the track “Silk Road” based on the Chinese products known by the people in West Europe at the time. Although the name fails to reflect the origin and the main products traded along the path, it has been accepted as the official name for the ancient trade link between China and Europa via the Middle East.

The ancient Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty more than a thousand years ago.


Wonder what it will look like in a few years if China stays committed to creating a new Silk Road. As far as this picture goes I image it was a village along the way and much of the road was actually desolete.

All Things Chinese
In the era of the Tang Dynasty, the climate in that part was much warmer and humid than during the recent thousand years. However, a new circle of climate has now begun so it could be the right time to bring the deserted silk road back to life.

Chang’an (today’s Xi’an), the ancient capital of Qin, Han and Tang Dynasties, was the destiny in the East end of the Silk Road between China and Rome via Iran.

Jiayu Pass of the Great Wall along the ancient Silk Road with a Ming Dynasty watchtower and Ming Dynasty artilleries made in the 15th century.

Jiayu Pass of the Great Wall before a formidable background, the Qilian Mountain range.

A renovated trail in Dingxi in Gansu Province, a section of the ancient Silk Road.

An ancient Taoist cultivating centre in Mt. Kongtong along the route of Silk Road.

Kongtong School martial arts was initially created by Tang Dynasty Taoist Flying Rainbow (飞虹子) based on Tang Dynasty dances painted on the Dunhuang grottoes.

Today Kongtong kungfu is still quite popular among Chinese female populations, known as Huajia Style (花架门).

The classic Kongtong kungfu masters were also renowned for specialising tiny metal pieces, functioning like bullets, that are hard to detect but can hit the target from a long distance.

Another ancient Taoist cultivating centre in Mt. Kongtong, one of the major Taoist mountains in China, along the route of the Silk Road.

A cave with a waterfall at the entrance, known as “water curtain cave” (水帘洞), in Tianshui along the ancient Silk Road.

Within the “water curtain cave”, there is an open space where pink flowers blossom before an outdoor Buddha relief sculpture, which is the biggest in Asia.

Buddhist and Daoist statues and relies on Maiji rock hill in Tianshui along the Silk Road.

The Maijishan Grottoes, cut in a hillside, are formed by 194 caves containing numerous Buddhist and Taoist artworks.

Throughout history, there was no social turmoil or war caused by conflicts between religions, because inclusiveness is in the heart of Taoism while Taoism is the foundation of Chinese culture.

Any imported spiritual movement that shares the same inclusive outlook and is based on reason, not blind faith, would be quickly absorbed and localised by Chinese society. In fact, for nearly 2,000 years, Han-School (i.e. Chinese School) Buddhism has been one of the three major pillars of Chinese culture, along with Taoism and Confucianism.


2019 March 4

Michael Cammock 
Does Taoism have a reference for the individual or group of people being in touch with or connected with “The Universal Life Force”?

All Things Chinese
Taoism knows about the cause, the structure and the development of the universe better than any other thinking schools, including modern cosmology/astronomy, as well as the relationship between people and the universe. While authentic Buddhism has more reference on the TRUE REALITY beyond the universe.

The desert area, known as Demon Town, in Dunhuang along the Silk Road, where compasses fail to work and the winds at night would generate blaring howls and roars sounded like hundreds of hungry wolves growling in darkness.

The Yang Pass of the Great Wall has been lost in time but a pavilion by the gate still stands, alone.

The desert in Dunhuang in the morning sun.

The Crescent Spring (月牙泉) and an ancient Buddhist temple next to Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang.

Mogao Grottoes on the route of the ancient Silk Road.

The remains of the Jade Gate Pass of the Great Wall near Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang along the Silk Road.

You are most welcome to leave your comments below