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The Silk Roads continue to capture the imagination of the public, and, in 2014, a section of the land routes was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Yet there was no single "Silk Road." Instead, a complex network of trade routes spanned Afro-Eurasia’s mountains, plains, deserts, and seas. From silk to spices, religion to dance, traffic in goods and ideas was crucial to the development of civilizations through rich cultural interactions and economic activity.
Centered around the dramatic landscapes of the Silk Roads, this beautiful volume honors the great diversity of medieval Afro-Eurasian cultures. Each section—from steppe to desert to ocean—includes maps, a historical and archaeological overview and thematic essays by leading scholars worldwide, as well as sidebars showcasing objects that exemplify the art, archaeology and architecture of the Silk Roads.
About the Author
The author of numerous books and articles on the Silk Roads and China, including Life Along the Silk Road and Silk, Slaves, and Stupas, Susan Whitfield is a scholar, curator, writer, lecturer, and traveler of the Silk Roads.
"An epic new book from traveller and curator Susan Whitfield" — Geographical, The Royal Geographic Society
"Silk Roads: People, Cultures, Landscapes is a wonderful addition to the literature on what is a huge subject—and rather like an old-fashioned encyclopedia." — South China Morning Post
"It is a joy to wander through almost 500 pages of stunning photographs illustrating the landscapes, people and cultures of the Silk Road . . . . and to read information that is up to date, accurate and readable" — British Museum Magazine
"This beautiful publication honors the astonishing diversity in the way cultures advance and flourish not in spite of their differences, but because of them." — Antiques Diary
"A superbly illustrated volume written by 80 scholars who, in short essays, tell the millennia-long story of the historic trade routes that criss-cross half the world, from Asia to Europe. The huge variety of the travelers and the merchandise along these complex trajectories is handsomely laid out in this delightful, informative and continually surprising work." 2019 Books of the Year — Arts Desk
“A vividly illustrated tome traces the cultural impacts of the Silk Road. . . . A treasure house of fascinating images and hard-won knowledge.” — Science
"Here is a lovely coffee table book on the Silk Roads, with splendid illustrations of maps, objects, peoples, arts and crafts, architecture, and landscapes. . . . [Whitfield] adds to her earlier contributions." — Journal of Historical Geography
"The many magnificent illustrations make one long to go travelling." 2019 Books of the Year — The Spectator
"Silk Roads is a book to experience, rather than read . . . Beautiful, fascinating, simultaneously erudite and accessible." — Asian Review of Books
"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." — Arts Society
"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
"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
"A beautifully illustrated, impressive publication. There is a wealth of materials and new ideas among its pages that will undoubtedly delight, intrigue, challenge, and inspire future research." — Oriental Ceramic Society Newsletter