Saturday, 19 September 2015

National treasures the focus of Silk Road Exhibition in Hangzhou


Priceless national treasures are among the historic relics in a new exhibition that kicked off Tuesday at the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province.

The large-scale show, Silks from the Silk Road: Origin, Transmission and Exchange, includes 140 precious relics from 26 museums in China. Fifteen of the items are national treasures.

The Silk Road got its name from the expensive commodity shipped to the West; the road itself became the of transmission of civilization. The exhibition explores the origin of raising silkworms and silk worm farming in China.

Archaeological finds have proved that Zhejiang province is where silk originated. Several excavations in the province proved that the silk industry emerged in the Yangtze River area in the Neolithic Age. In 1977, an ivory carving in the shape of a silkworm dating back 7, 000 years was found in Hemudu Village in Ningbo of Zhejiang province. The piece is considered the world's earliest carving in the shape of a silkworm.

The exhibition also illustrates the development of silk technology in China, the dissemination of silk from East to West, the textile culture exchange among different countries on the Silk Road and the Chinese influence on the artistic style and improvement of silk technology all over the world.

A visitor captures an image of an ancient costume in the exhibition. 
According to Song Xinchao, deputy director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, Chinese silk and silk technology spread to the whole world through the Silk Road. It helped many countries achieve local silk techniques and artistic style, and greatly impacted the development of the economy and social culture all over the world.

In the exhibition, the body of a man found in Yuli county in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region becomes the focus. The corpse was unearthed in 1995. Archaeologists believe he lived during the Han-Jin period (202BC–420AD).

A man's body found in Yuli county in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is the focus of the exhibition. 

The man is dressed in a red woolen robe decorated with beautiful patterns featuring people, animals and trees. A red woolen carpet decorated with lion patterns covered is coffin. According to Zhao Feng, director of the China National Silk Museum, these patterns were popular during the Greco-Roman period. However, they were not really made in Western countries, but came from Kushan Empire, an ancient kingdom in Central Asia.

A series of pottery figurines show how Chinese women produced silk in ancient China.

"Yuli county is an important transport center on the Silk Road. The dress and personal adornment unearthed from that area show unique local artistic style in ancient Central Asian countries, which keeps both similarity and difference compared with China and European countries. They also show the exchange and combination of multi-culture and silk technology in history among countries on the Silk Road," Zhao said.

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