One of the world's most ancient and historically important trade routes, the Silk Road conjures up exotic images of camel caravans, windswept deserts. Extending as far as the Indian kingdoms in the west, to present-day Xi’an in China in the east, the Silk Road was already a crossroad of Asia by the third century B.C. Recent archaeological discoveries across China indicate that silk production technology has developed to a fairly high level from the Shang Dynasty and warring states periods. Nowadays, China's silk goods are still one of the most important products that China has devoted to the people of the world.
The Silk trade road serves as a highway connecting China, Southern, Western and central Asia, in the Han Dynasty . According to new archaeological data, further spread to the west Mediterranean and Asia minor, determines the basic connotation of the silk road, i.e. it is the ancient China through nearly the whole ancient world, the land trade communication channel paving a lot of Chinesegoods, is so called" silk road ".
The Grassland Silk Road
One of the most significant roads, is called “The grassland silk road”, refers to the Mongolian Steppe zone to communicate with the Eurasian Continent of the great trade channel, which is an important part of the silk road. As the artery of nomadic culture exchange at that time, it crossed the Great Wall along the ancient Yin Mountain from the central plains to the north, crossed the almost the whole Eurasia.
The formation of the grassland silk road is closely related to the natural ecological environment. According to environmental archaeology, only in the middle latitudes between 40 and 50 degrees north could Eurasia facilitate east-west transportation for human beings, and this area was the location of the grassland silk road. This was the core area where nomadic culture and farming culture meet, and it was an important hub of the grassland silk road.
For the Grassland Silk Road, the demand for Commodity Exchange originates from the diversification of labor between agriculture and animal husbandry in the primitive society, is also called "fur road" and "tea road" because of its characteristics.
Historical Significance of the Silk Road
From the perspectives of Chinese history, the Silk Road opened by the Han Dynasty was sometimes interrupted by political opposition, ethnic contradictions and even wars. The development of civilization, the expansion of power, the activity of the commercial nation, and the interdependence between the nomadic people of the grassland and the settled people of agriculture have made the spiritual and material cultural exchanges between the east and the west lasting for more than two thousand years.
At the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, there were frequent wars and chaos in the central plains. As the throat of traffic between China and the west, Dunhuang, even for more than 20 years, was not guarded too much. In 1907, the British archaeologist Stein in the northwest of Dunhuang wall beacons, found a group with millet, Central Asian text written by millet, this is the Liangzhou of millet businessmen to hometown and Maicon (Samarkand, Uzbekistan) people's letters, for some reason, buried in Dunhuang at the foot of the Great Wall. According to the letter, these groups, which were based in Liangzhou, operated from Luoyang in the east to Dunhuang in the west and handle long-distance sales of Chinese silk and other goods.
Tang Dynasty as A Critical Role of the Development
In Tang dynasty, the further integration of ethnic groups, the broader expansion of territory and the integration of political system and ideology and culture brought the Tang Dynasty together with great strength, production development, commercial prosperity and cultural prosperity. From Tang Taizong to Wu Zetian periods, the forces of the Tang Dynasty not only directly and firmly controlled the western kingdoms of the Tarim Basin, but also became the patriarchal states of various kingdoms in the vast area north of Tianshan Mountain and west of Qingling Mountain.
The main route of the Silk Road which across the grassland of the North-west Asian has acted as the most significant role in the system of the trade route. Han Dynasty established the origin of the Silk Road, Chinese from central plains took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall to ensure the protection of the trade route, afterwards Tang Dynasty as the platform of reopens the route and promotion.
Though silk was the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, syncretic philosophies and technologies. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network.