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Branch Museums


Trade Passages: A Pictorial Exhibition of
the Silk Road in the Han Dynasty

The Silk Road was the most remarkable economic achievement in the Han dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD). Trade was no longer confined within the borders of the empire, but was extended to Southeast Asia, Central Asia and even as far as the Mediterranean. From then on, China's external transportation and exchange prospered along the Silk Road by land and sea. Demand arising from trade growth and the opening up of new roads were interdependent. Convenient transport fuelled merchandise exchange among countries, which in turn resulted in diversified development of the material lives and culture of much of humanity at the time. Han silk fabrics were much sought after in foreign countries, whereas the exotic plants, animals and rare materials from other nations also changed the lives of people in the Han dynasty.

Making use of textual illustrations and photographs of relics discovered along the land and sea routes of the Silk Road, this exhibition introduces transportation and trade in the Han dynasty, starting with the Silk Road in the Eastern and Western Han dynasties, to give visitors an understanding of the explosion of trade in the Han dynasty.



Ornament of crystal and agate beads
Western Han
Collection of Guangzhou Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology


  Pottery ox-cart
Eastern Han
Collection of Guangxi Institute of Cultural Relic Protection and Archaeology



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