Silk RoadThe Silk Road (from German: Seidenstraße) or Silk Route is a modernterm referring to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across theAfro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia withthe Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and (East Africa. Extending 4,000 miles (6,500 km
Chinese jade and *steatite plaques, in theScythian-style animalart of the steppes. 4th–. 3rd century BC British Museum
From the 2nd millennium BC nephrite jade was being traded frommines in the region of Yarkand andKhotan to China. Significantly, thesemines were not very far from thelapis lazuli and spinel ("Balas Ruby")mines in Badakhshan and, althoughseparated by the formidablePamir Mountains, routes across themwere, apparently, in use from very .early times
*A Scythianhorseman from thegeneral area of theIli river, Pazyryk, c.300 BC.
The expansion of Scythian cultures stretching from the Hungarian plain and the Carpathians tothe Chinese Kansu Corridor and linking Iran, andthe Middle East with Northern India and thePunjab, undoubtedly played an important role inthe development of the Silk Road. Scythiansaccompanied the Assyrian Esarhaddon on hisinvasion of Egypt, and their distinctive triangulararrowheads have been found as far south asAswan. These nomadic peoples were dependentupon neighbouring settled populations for anumber of important technologies, and in additionto raiding vulnerable settlements for thesecommodities, also encouraged long distancemerchants as a source of income through theenforced payment of tariffs. Soghdian Scythianmerchants played a vital role in later periods in .the development of the Silk Road
A ChineseWestern Han Dynasty (202 BC – 9 AD)bronze rhinoceroswith gold and silverinlay
A sancai statue offoreigner with a wineskin,(Tang Dynasty (618–907: Further information Europeans in Medieval China
Italian pottery of the mid-15th century was heavilyinfluenced by Chineseceramics. A Sancai ("Threecolors") plate (left), and aMing-type blue-white vase(right), made in NorthernItaly, mid-15th century. .Musée du Louvre