Silk Roads

Silk Roads : Peoples, Cultures, Landscapes

4.41 (17 ratings by Goodreads)
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As world powers realign their cultural, economic and political outlooks, there is no better time to consider how Afro-Eurasia's complex network of ancient trade routes - which spanned the vastness of the steppe, vertiginous mountain ranges, fertile river plains and forbidding deserts across the continents and on to the seas beyond - fostered economic activity and cultural, political and technological communication. From silk to slaves, fashion to music, religion to science the movement of interaction of goods, people and ideas was crucial to the flourishing of peoples and their cultures across this vast region.

Edited by Susan Whitfield, an established authority on the subject, with contributions from over 80 leading scholars from across the globe, Silk Roads situates the ancient routes against the landscapes that defined them, to reveal the raw materials that they produced, the means of travel that were employed to traverse them and the communities that were shaped by them. Organized by terrain, from steppe to desert to ocean, each section includes detailed maps, a historical overview, thematic essays and features showcasing art, buildings and archaeological discoveries. A wealth of photographs reveals the breathtaking and often forbidding landscapes encountered by travellers and traders through the millennia.

With one section inscribed as a World Heritage Corridor by UNESCO in 2014 and others to follow, and China claiming the Silk Roads as the precursor of its Belt Road Initiative, this network of ancient trade routes and the interaction along them has never been of greater interest or importance than today. This beautiful publication honours the astonishing diversity in the way cultures advance and flourish not in spite of their differences, but because of them.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 480 pages
  • 225 x 286 x 40mm | 2,400g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 30 Illustrations, black and white; 461 Illustrations, color
  • 0500021570
  • 9780500021576
  • 64,144

Review quote

'An extraordinary compendium of history and art ... a marvel of a book ... a brilliant survey that could not be put together in real time, a catalogue of an exhibition that could never be ... This is a book to fundamentally jolt our endemic Eurocentricism and Western complacency ... [a] one-volume museum' - V&A Magazine 'The many magnificent illustrations make one long to go travelling' - Spectator, Martin Gayford's Books of the Year 'A superbly illustrated volume ... the huge variety of the travellers and the merchandise along these complex trajectories is handsomely laid out in this delightful, informative and continually surprising work' - The Arts Desk, Books of the Year 'A book to experience rather than read ... simultaneously erudite and accessible' - Asian Review of Books 'Stunning maps and artifacts combine with evocative landscapes as well as troubling tales of plunder, serving as a timely reminder of the rich rewards of meaningful communication and candid cultural exchange within and between the continents' - Traveller 'Sections on Christian monasticism in Africa and Asia and the emergence of lapis lazuli make compelling reading. At a time when global politics and economy are hit by uncertainty, this book emphasises how movement and exchange fostered economic activity and cultural and political ideas' - The Art Society 'Revealing on every level and will undoubtedly cast a spell upon the reader ... this is one journey not to be missed' - The Lady 'This beautiful publication honours the astonishing diversity in the way cultures advance and flourish not in spite of their differences, but because of them' - Antiques Diary 'The value of this sumptuous book lies not in its decorative coffee-table desirability but because it serves to remind us that human difference and interaction is vitally necessary for progress. In an era marked by international wall-building and little compassion towards refugees and migrants, we would do well to remember this' - World of Interiors
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About Susan Whitfield

Susan Whitfield is a historian of medieval Central Asia and a former curator
at The British Library. Her research focuses on the archaeology, art history and
material culture of the Silk Road. The author of many books and articles, she has
travelled extensively in Central Asia and visited, studied and documented numerous
archaeological sites.
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Rating details

17 ratings
4.41 out of 5 stars
5 59% (10)
4 24% (4)
3 18% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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