The IDP website is a free resource for reliable information about Silk Road history and its artefacts; many of which are now dispersed throughout the world. This web area has been created specifically for teachers and educators who wish to explore the culture, languages, religions and creativity of the Silk Road with their students.
The IDP site draws together a huge range of material from various institutions and as a whole represents the immense diversity and long term development of Silk Road life and its importance to world culture today. This area aims to help teachers access relevant material easily: on this page you will find links to various key topics and resources created by IDP.
We are currently developing this area and always appreciate your comments and suggestions to help us improve these pages. For information on a specific topic not covered here, please contact us and we will do our best to help. Email: Abby Baker.
Education, workshops and other events
IDP is a web-based international project based at the British Library and with centres worldwide. Some of the artefacts displayed on our site can be seen in the British Library's permanent exhibition spaces, at other London institutions such as the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as many other institutions throughout Europe, Asia and America (see IDP collections pages).
We hope that these web pages will help you find inspiration for your classroom-based teaching as well as helping you prepare visits to museums and other institutions with Silk Road collections near you.
Information about related exhibitions, workshops, educational events and potential school trips will appear here when they happen. We would love to hear about any events happening in your area or school.
Prospects for the Study of Dunhuang Manuscripts: The Next 20 Years
Conference at Princeton University
September 6-8, 2014
The conference features research in all disciplines of Dunhuang manuscript studies, including religious studies, literature, history, linguistics, and paleography. 29 papers will be presented by scholars involved in the International Liaison Committee for Dunhuang Studies from greater China, Japan, Europe, and the US.
Susan Whitfield of IDP wil give the closing keynote on Monday 8th September at 4:30pm followed by a public reception.
See the conference website for full details.
Expedition Silk Road, Treasures from the Hermitage
1 March – 5 September 2014
The Hermitage Amsterdam will offer visitors a glimpse of the long-lost civilizations along the legendary Silk Road. Until 5 September 2014, the exhibition Expedition Silk Road will present treasures from the Hermitage: 250 exceptionally beautiful objects, such as murals, sculpture, precious silks, silver, glass, gold, and terracotta, excavated by Russian expeditions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Amstel 51, Amsterdam
See the Hermitage website for full details.
Exhibition: ‘The Diamond Sutra and Early Printing’
March 2014 – August 2015
The Dunhuang Diamond Sutra, the world’s earliest, dated, complete printed book, will be on display at the British Library for the first time since a programme of long-term conservation was completed. It will be shown alongside other examples of early printing in Asia.
Sir John Ritblat Gallery
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB
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.
In 2005 IDP prepared a bilingual DVD of maps, texts, images, sounds and videos relating to the history of Dunhuang. This was distributed to primary-school teachers in Gansu Province, China under the auspices of the European Union-funded Gansu Basic Education Project (GBEP). GBEP's objective is to assist the Gansu Provincial Government in implementing education reform through the use of technology in some of the poorest areas of the province in northwest China. As home to the Mogao cave complex of Buddhist art, where the Library Cave was discovered, the town of Dunhuang in Gansu province is particularly relevant to children living locally.
The International Dunhuang Project was proud to welcome teachers of the Comenius Eurasia Project to the British Library on October 31 2006. This site focuses on using Internet technology to offer background information into the history of the collections held by the British Library and other institutions and their importance to students and scholars of all ages.
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.
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.
This report aims to give a general overview of the extent to which e-learning is being used in the UK, how it is being used and its potential and pitfalls. It will examine e-learning from the point of view of students and teachers, and will explore how the UK Government is attempting to regulate e-learning. It will also look briefly at the current state of e-learning globally.
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.