This area is designed for students learning about Silk Road people, culture, history, art, religion and language.
Nowadays, we know much about life on the Silk Road thanks to archaeologists and explorers. The objects people leave behind can tell us a lot about their beliefs, their customs and the way they lived their everyday lives.
Are you a budding writer, explorer or artist? The Silk Road has been a source of inspiration for many thousands of people over its long history. Explore our resources to find valuable information for your studies and help bring Silk Road history to life by learning what people of the Silk Road created themselves and left behind for us to uncover.
Learn about the famous explorer, Sir Aurel Stein, and his faithful canine companion, Dash, and investigate some of their exciting discoveries for yourself.
If you are studying the Silk Road, or learning about it at school why not share this website with your teachers and friends, and email Abby Baker with your own ideas on how we can make it more fun and interesting.
A mini gallery on the theme of 'Cultural Dialogue on the Silk Road'. All of the artifacts on show relate to dialogue and communication and its effect on the cultural history of Central Asia and beyond. By exploring the gallery you can learn about official dialogue, religious dialogue, commercial dialogue and of course, personal dialogue.
The most successful exhibition ever held at the British Library during its opening from May 7 to September 12, 2004. The exhibition led the visitor on a tour from Samarkand, home of the Sogdians, along the southern Silk Road through the ancient kingdoms of Khotan and Kroraina to the Tibetan fort at Miran, the Chinese garrison town of Dunhuang and the Uighur stronghold of Kocho. Over 400 exhibits were brought together from worldwide collections, they introduced all aspects of life along the Silk Road during the first millennium, from everyday objects such as mousetraps, shoes and sieves for milk, to the exquisite paintings found in the Library Cave at Dunhuang.
Sir Aurel Stein always had a canine companion accompanying him on his Central Asian travels, seven canine companions in all, and all called Dash. Read on to discover more about them and see photographs from the various expeditions.
This site, by combining textual descriptions with diagrams illustrating binding techniques and photographs of the actual objects, aims to give a comprehensive introduction to the different kinds of Chinese bookbinding contained in the Dunhuang collection of the British Library.
The civilizations which flourished along the Silk Road in the first millennium AD were open to cultural and religious influences from both East and West. Many religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, gained new followers. But it was Buddhism, travelling the trade routes of the Silk Road, which became the common factor uniting the different peoples of the Silk Road.
Manuscripts found on the Silk Roads tell us a lot about everyday life as well as scholarly activities and, then as now, people got sick and needed remedies. In the Dunhuang collection we find the earliest surviving handbooks for acupuncture, remedy manuals, books on diagnosis of illnesses, diet, breathing and exercise. Here you will find some of these manuscripts with descriptions.
In Buddhist tradition, the replication of the image of the Buddha is an important way of spreading the word of Buddha, and of attaining merit for rebirth in the next life. Examples of this practice can be seen in Buddhist cave complexes around the world, including in the caves at Dunhuang where many of the artefacts displayed on IDP's online database were found.
Join this tradition by adding your own Buddha image to IDP's online gallery of 1000 Buddhas, and generate merit for yourself and everyone else who has contributed to the gallery so far.
Send your Buddha image by post to:Abby Baker
International Dunhuang Project
The British Library
96 Euston Rd,
Or email your image in jpeg format to: Abby.Baker@bl.uk
As an important religion on the Silk Road for much of the first millennium AD, Buddhism played a central role in shaping tradition and culture across Central Asia for hundreds of years. Learn about the history and transmission of Buddhism across Asia, and study its teachings and iconography though items from Silk Road collections worldwide.
For thousands of years, man has used the sky to help him find his way, tell the change of season and the time of day. Learn about Chinese observation of the sky and the development of Chinese Astronomy through studying the Dunhuang star chart, the earliest existing star atlas in the world, and discover some of the myths and associations which surround Chinese astrology and the zodiac.