Life along the Silk Road: 13 Stories during the Great Era

The ancient Silk Road is best known as a vital trade route and cultural bridge between the East and the West that connected China to numerous parts of the world.

The Exhibition

“Life along the Silk Road: 13 Stories during the Great Era” is an exhibition held by the China National Silk Museum, Hang Zhou, that opens from 21 June to 21 September 2019.

The exhibition narrates a comprehensive story of the Silk Roads by introducing 13 identities and true stories of their daily lives along the Silk Road. The Great Era of peace, cooperation, openness, and inclusiveness is illustrated alongside the characteristics of different periods from a variety of perspectives at different times and different cultures.

The exhibition is held in cooperation with the State Hermitage Museum, Russia, Institute of Archaeology of Xinjiang, Dunhuang Research Academy and many more museums, and supported by the National Cultural Heritage Administration of China, and the People's Government of Zhejiang Province.

International Curators’ Forum on the Silk Road

A two-day forum was organized to complement the exhibition from June 22nd to 23rd by China National Silk Museum, with the support of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the International Alliance of Museums of the Silk Road, the Committee of Museums along the Silk Road, and the International Association for the Study of Silk Road Textiles.

25 experts from institutions all over the world who have previously curated exhibitions on topic related to Silk Road are invited to speak on topics such as the Oasis and Steppe Silk Road, the Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road in China. They also shared their experiences in conducting exhibitions on the topic of the Silk Roads as well as their future activities and projects on this theme. The Hangzhou consensus to promote cooperation and exchanges in the field of Silk Roads cultural heritage, and to set the International Silk Roads Day, was also issued and officially proposed during the forum.

Life along the Silk Road: 13 Stories during the Great Era is at the China National Silk Museum, from 21 June to 21 September 2019.

1. Mehrdad Shabahang (UNESCO Silk Road Online Platform), Opening Speech

Mehrdad Shabahang delivered the opening remarks to begin the event. He also introduced the UNESCO Silk Road Online Platform to the audience by first illustrating the relationship between UNESCO and other institutions as a database platform for sharing information regarding cultural heritage on the Silk Road with stakeholders from all over the world. He also described it as a tool to facilitate collaboration between experts and institutions for research. Secondly, Shabhang highlighted how UNESCO Silk Road Online Platform acts an an interactive atlas of cultural interactions along the Silk Road by grouping information into six main themes: science and technology, traditional know-how and craftsmanship; religion and spirituality; languages and literature; arts and music; traditional sports & games.

This is an online platform that UNESCO launched in 2013. [...] It aims to promote and disseminate the knowledge on the shared cultural heritage of the Silk Roads that has been developed by different stakeholders in different countries around the world. —— Mehrdad Shabahang, Project Officer, UNESCO Silk Road Online Platform

2. Kidong Bae (National Museum of Korea), "Silks in Museums on Silk Roads"

"Silks in Museums on Silk Roads: A Vision for Intercultural Understanding and Prosperity of Humankind"

Kidong Bae began his speech by explaining how silk is a symbol of civilisation and connection between different cultures. To illustrate the fact that various great innovations and globalisation started on the Silk Road, he showed the audience pictures of artifacts and items of Near Eastern Elements in Gyougju, ancient Silla such as glassware in Gyoungju from West Persian Sasanina and Rome. Bae also talks about the Far Eastern Silk Road on sea and land beyond China and how it ties into Korean history through introduction of mountain fortresses, stories of monks as well as charms and rituals for safe journeys.

To reflect on the connection between the history of the Silk Road and the modern world, Bae also introduced a few iconic exhibitions that were held at the National Museum of Korea, for example “Special Exhibition of Goryeo: An Era of Prosperity, Goryeo Dynasty in the Far Eastern Silk Road“ and “Shinan Shipwreck Symbolic Treasure of the Far Eastern Silkroad on Sea“. To conclude, Bae proposed the prospect of the future for the Silk Road, and urges museums to collaborate more often in order to connect people with the heritage of the Silk Road.