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.

COMMENTS FROM MINDS:

soxfan1957
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.

The Silk Road and the city Luoyang – an ancient mural in Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang.

The CBD of capital Luoyang during the Tang Dynasty under woman emperor Wu Zetian’s reign – an artist illustration.

Since about 2,000 years ago, Luoyang, the capital of the East Han Dynasty, became the destination in the east for the Silk Road.

By the 4th century, Luoyang developed into an international metropolitan with three layers of city walls, 220 fenced residential zones and 600,000 populations, with numerous hotels catering visitors from overseas.

Apart from peony planting which was the best in China, mulberry cultivation was also popular thus the booming of the production and trade of silk.

COMMENTS FROM MINDS

March 6, 2020

soxfan1057
4th century, numerous hotels, visitors from overseas. Not a combination I would have expected.

All Things Chinese
By then the land along the Silk Road was much more green and fertile.

The widespread desensitization in that part of the world mainly occurred during the recent millennium due to

(a) the northward movement of feng shui circle and

(b) the extreme and barren state of the minds as the result of a large scale conversion to a particular cultish religion in the area and

(c) the expanded influence of the Mongol’s nomadic culture.

Eric
At a time when the silkworms were very protected from outsiders, I think.

Soxfan1957
And before they invented gipsy moths.

All Things Chinese
Silk production very much relies on silkworms and the silkworm breeding very much relies on mulberry trees and the mulberry tree growth very much relies on the fertile land and the fertility of the land very much relies on water supply and irrigation system … so go figure.

The architecture model of Luoyang as the capital of China during the Tang Dynasty under woman emperor Wu Zetian’s reign.

COMMENTS FROM MINDS

May 5, 2020

Eric
Awesome. It would be nice to live there today if plumbing, heating and electricity installed. 😁😀😀

All Things Chinese
In the old Japanese capital Kyoto, you can still have a glimpse of this kind of cityscape – they copied from the Tang and have nicely preserved the architectural tradition without demolishing the old for the new.

soxfan1957
My oldest son went to Kyoto on a high school class and loved it. Funny story. He bought 2 swords he wanted to ship back to the states. He went to what he thought was a post office but was actually a hospital. When he got home and told us the story my wife asked him if he saw the big red cross, He admitted he did it just didn’t dawn on him it meant it was a hospital. It was pretty good when he went up to the desk and they explained to him where he needed to go. If he ever walked into a hospital with swords here he would have ended up in jail.

All Things Chinese
I heard a true story from my friend: the son of China’s top Suzhou Garden expert Chen Chongzhou used to work at I. M. Pei’s architects firm in New York.

One day Chen’s son went to visit a friend but walked into a wrong house, he was shot by the host at the front gate and died.

He was Chen’s only son and the old man never recovered from the tragedy.

Eric
Well that is a sad story. Americans eh! Shoot first ask questions later.

soxfan1957
Assuming it happened in New York. There was a recent story similar where a police officer walked into the wrong apartment (thought she was in her apartment) saw “the stranger” and shot him.

All Things Chinese
Yep, I read that story in the news recently. It should only happen in the old films about the Wild West when someone walked into a wrong tavern.

A section of the city wall and the ancient pagoda in Luoyang.

The Tang Dynasty pagoda and reconstructed city walls of Luoyang.

COMMENTS FROM MINDS

May 5, 2020

Eric
Totally awesome, and a woman emperor “before” the feminist movement What! How is this possible “mediocrity I imagine”. But this is the distinction of eastern/Asian culture with a beautiful style of architecture.

All Things Chinese
She was a feminist. During her time, Chinese women were able to sit for scholarly examination and become government officials, which means by then Chinese women had equal rights to education and job. 😁

soxfan1957
I figure in another 1000 years we might elect a woman. For now it’s old white guys. Minimum age of 70.

All Things Chinese
So today’s American society is very much like Australian Aboriginal communities that are ruled by a group of elderlies.

Eric
Hopefully, a time will come when we truly elect the best person for the role, regardless of sex, race or, god forgive, sexually perclavity or peculiar fetish. When we do not any longer function by defining someone by a label applied to them and the accompanying divisiveness it causes.

All Things Chinese
After 20 years your dream may become true.

Eric
I hope, vote for someone who is wanted and not following a cause or ideology. I have often thought I would like to build a party to get elected and then make changes that will upset people but are the right thing for society and not be concerned about being elected again, to truly make the ugly and difficult decisions because you do not intend to run again. Hence you are not swayed by maintaining your popularity.

All Things Chinese
Good on you Eric. Go for it. I’ll migrant to Canada to vote for you.

Luoyang in Henan was not the first time to be the heart of China when woman emperor Wu Zetian moved the capital from Xi’an to the peony flowers.

In the 11th century BC when the West Zhou Dynasty replaced the Shang, Luoyang was declared to be the capital of China and the declaration was engraved on a bronze wine vessel presented on state ceremony.

In the characters engraved on the vessel, the words 中国 (The Central State, meaning China) appears for the first time.

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.

COMMENTS FROM GOOGLE PLUS

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.

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