Sunday, 25 September 2016

Silks from the Silk Road: Origin, Transmission and Exchange

Silks from the Silk Road: Origin, Transmission and Exchange


China National Silk Museum, Hangzhou

From 2015-09-15 to 2015-10-15

Silks from the Silk Road: Origin, Transmission and Exchange
The ancient Silk Road was the most important trade route and cultural bridge between the East and the West, connecting China and the rest of the world. For more than 1,000 years, countless traders and their camel trains delivered goods and products among different nations along the route and helped spread religion and culture as well as science and technology, promoting cultural exchanges and integration. Along this route, silk and silkworm raising as well as silk making that originated in China spread to other parts of the world. Such techniques as silk making were localized in countries along the route, bringing about great influences on their social and economic development. As exchanges were deepened,western weaving began exerting their influence on silk making in China, with examples being western styles and themes in traditional Chinese textiles.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the initiative to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21stCentury Maritime Silk Road. In 2014, a site proposed by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan called Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor was inscribed on the World Heritage List, making the ancient Silk Road a common treasure of the human kind. Today, the Silk Road wins unprecedented concern of the public, experts and leaders.

However, as the name and originator of the road, silk itself hasn't received enough concern. When was silk transported on the Silk Road for the first time? What was the proportion of silk in the trade along the Silk Road? What was the importance of silk in the economic activities along the Silk Road? Where was the silk on the Silk Road produced and even which country was the origin of the ancient silk? Numerous questions have puzzled the people who are studying or describing the Silk Road.

Against the backdrop, based on our research over the years and cooperation with the cultural institutions museums along the Silk Road, we submitted the motion to hold the exhibition "Silks from the Silk Road: Origin, Transmission and Exchange". We hope to illustrate the domestication of silkworms in China, the origination of silk in China, the westward spread and the exchanges and development of silk during the transmission by means of the unearthed relics in archeological excavations and the most valuable historical facts. It exhibits the origin of the Silk Road, the stories about cultural exchanges along the Silk Road, the spirit of the Silk Road and the objectives of the Belt and Road Strategy.

Silks from the Silk Road: Origin, Transmission and Exchange, an exhibition sponsored by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and Zhejiang Provincial Government, co-sponsored by cultural heritage bureaus in Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai provinces as well as the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and with the participation of 27 cultural institutions museums along the Silk Road, will be held between September 15 and October 15, 2015 in the Hangzhou West Lake Museum. The exhibition, showcasing nearly 140 pieces (sets) of silk and related items are divided into four parts, namely Origins in China, Opening to the World, Integration in Western Regions and Localization and Diversity, demonstrates how silk originated in China and spread to other parts of the world as well as cultural exchanges between the East and the West through the Silk Road. It was through such exchanges that the art of silk making improved and it was thanks to the Silk Road that silk productsbecame available worldwide.

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