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Manuscripts of the Silk Road

Manuscripts of the Silk Road


For more than a thousand years, the paths of the Silk Road joined the distant empires of East Asia and the Mediterranean, forming a complex web of trade, pilgrimage and intellectual exchange between China, Central Asia, Persia, Tibet, India, the Near East and Europe.


Interest in the cultures of the Silk Road was renewed in the end of the nineteenth century. In 1907 Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943) made one of the most sensational archaeological finds of all time: at the Mogao Caves, also known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, near Dunhuang, he discovered a library  containing thousands of both religious and secular manuscripts dating from the fifth to the eleventh centuries. Most such documents have ended up in institutions like the British Museum, the Bibliothèque Nationale and other national libraries in India, China and Japan.


In keeping with the diversity of the Dunhuang discoveries, this book consists of examples of manuscripts in Chinese, Khotanese, Bactrian, Gandhari, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Syriac, Hebrew and Arabic. The material provides a sense of the fruitful exchanges as well as bitter struggles in these regions over the centuries.

  • Sam Fogg

    52 pages, paperback

    300 x 240 mm, 30 colour illustrations
    ISBN: 978 0 953942 29 9

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