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Silk Roads: Peoples, Cultures, Landscapes

Susan Whitfield Peter Sellars

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Thames & Hudson
03 December 2019
History of Art & Design Styles; Exhibition catalogues & specific collections; History; Asian history; Archaeology by period & region
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.
Foreword by:   Peter Sellars
Edited by:   Susan Whitfield
Imprint:   Thames & Hudson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 286mm,  Width: 225mm, 
Weight:   2.360kg
ISBN:   9780500021576
ISBN 10:   0500021570
Pages:   480
Publication Date:   03 December 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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.

Reviews for Silk Roads: Peoples, Cultures, Landscapes

'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 'Revealing on every level and will undoubtedly cast a spell upon the reader ... this is one journey not to be missed' - The Lady '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 '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 'The many magnificent illustrations make one long to go travelling' - Spectator, Martin Gayford's Books of the Year '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

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