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Thursday, December 5, 2002 - 19:30

Western Artifacts Found on the Silk Road

Professor Xu Pingfang, Historian and Archaeologist; former Director, the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Italian Embassy

Of the four different Silk Routes into China the 10,000-li silver ribbon starting at Changan (Xian today), the ancient capital of China, and ending at the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, linking fields, deserts, grasslands, and mountains, is the most well known. This is the Silk Road famed in world history, the first thoroughfare, which linked China with the West. The greater part of the Silk Road threads its way through Xinjiang. Ancient travellers left behind many historical records and invaluable relics. Professor Xu Pingfang, head of the Chinese Archaeological Institute and chief researcher at the archaeology department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, will be lecturing on the relics, which were brought to China from the western world via the Silk Road.

Chinese silk, ironware, gold and platinum, bronze mirrors, lacquer, bamboo wares, drugs, farming and smelting technology passed through the western region of China to India and Europe. Alfalfa, grapes, sesame, pomegranates, walnuts, cucumbers, carrots, safflowers, as well as lions, peacocks, elephants, camels, horses, coins, jewellery and sculptures found their way into the Chinese interior using the same route. It will be interesting for us to benefit from Prof. Xu's vast treasure of knowledge, and be able to see representations of some of the western artefacts that came to China via the four different Silk Routes in antiquity.