The silk road
Source: Global Times [16:13 July 20 2009]
The Silk Road (or Silk Routes) is an complex interconnected network of trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, as well as North and Northeast Africa and Europe. In recent years, it has also come to be used for the maritime as well the overland routes.
The Silk Routes were not only conduits for silk, but also for many other products. They were very important paths for cultural and technological transmission that linked traders, merchants, pilgrims, missionaries, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers among China, India, Persia and Mediterranean countries for almost 3,000 years.
Chinese jade and steatite plaques, in the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes. 4th–3rd century BCE. British Museum.
A pottery horse head and neck (broken from the body) of the Late Han Dynasty (1st–2nd century CE)