Discover the ancient Silk Road through antique coins
By Miao Jiayu (chinadaily.com.cn)
Ancient coins and trading tokens used to trade goods along the Silk Road went on display at an exhibition in Xi’an on Sept 10 as part of the Eighth West China Cultural Industries Expo.
The month-long exhibition will tell the history of the once-thriving trade route, with artifacts as old as 5 BC, to 19 AD. A total of 400 coins will go on display, covering 30 dynasties across Asia and what is now Europe.
The exhibition is composed of six parts and explains the origin, design and crafts of the coins on display, and the cultural integration of the Greek, Roman and Chinese empires. Curators hope the new exhibit will help visitors understand the economic development along the ancient Silk Road, with some items being displayed to the public for the first time.
One of the most prized items on display is a silver coin dating back to the time of Alexander the Great. A portrait of Alexander’s head on the coin made him the first person to ever appear on coins, according to the consensus of many historians.
According to Wang Dan, former coin researcher at the British Museum, the Silk Road is also a road of coins, as trade prospered along the ancient pathway to connect China with Central Asia and Europe. Coins are worth researching since they epitomize the country’s history, society and culture, said Wang. He added that the research into the antique coins of the Silk Road will reveal the development status of the time and will give historical and cultural implications for the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Silk Road antique coin exhibition started on Sep 10 in Xi'an.(Photo/sn.Xinhuanet.com)