Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Oct 28, 2010


June 5 Continued

After Lunch we went to the Saanxi Provincial Museum.The two-story museum was built in 1991.

Its lobby has a large stone line standing in front of an even larger waterfall sculpture.

The museum has a fairly large collection. It ranges from Paleolithic artifacts to the Tang dynasty ceramics. Signs are in Chinese as well as English.

Humans have almost continuously inhabited Xian area since the Neolithic times. Also throughout history, it has occupied an important place in China. With Beijing (bei= north) in the north, and Nanjing (nan=south) in the south, Luoyang in the east, Xian city in west (xi=west), was one of the four important ancient capitals of the country. Also, it was here that the first Chinese empire was established here by Qin Shihuang in 221 B.C. But its importance grew immensely during the Silk Road days.

Silk Road was an important international trade route (see map) between Xian (the called Changan, “City of Long Peace”) and Rome. Its branches extended to other countries as well including modern Pakistan and India.

Indians played prominent roles in the silk trade as middlemen. The Chinese traded their silk with the Indians for precious stones and metals such as jade, gold, and silver, and the Indians traded the Chinese silk with the Roman Empire.

Through the Silk Road came not only foreign goods, but also foreign culture. People were more tolerant of foreigners and their ways. And Xian became quite rich economically as well culturally.

During the rule of Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), the Great Mosque, first Christian Church,

and new Buddhist Temples were established in Xian.

Arts prospered.

New foods and fashions were introduced. The rich held fancy banquets, where guests were entertained with music and dance.

Women were assertive. Besides playing their traditional roles,

they rode horses,

played polo,

had fancy hairdos,

and wore colorful, fashionable clothes.

But everyone was not that lucky. Slaves cooked, cleaned and performed other menial tasks.

Naked slaves held dishes on their heads, while their masters and guests tasted them. And if their master died, along with the service animals, they were buried alive, to serve their masters in the afterlife.



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