The Silk Road

Melvyn Bragg and guests Tim Barrett, Naomi Standen and Frances Wood discuss the Silk Road, the trade routes which spanned Asia for over a thousand years, carrying Buddhism to China and paper-making and gunpowder westwards.In 1900, a Taoist monk came upon a cave near the Chinese town of Dunhuang. Inside, he found thousands of ancient manuscripts. They revealed a vast amount of evidence about the so-called Silk Road: the great trade routes which had stretched from Central Asia, through desert oases, to China, throughout the first millennium.Besides silk, the Silk Road helped the dispersion of writing and paper-making, coinage and gunpowder, and it was along these trade routes that Buddhism reached China from India. The history of these transcontinental links reveals a dazzlingly complex meeting and mingling of civilisations, which lasted for well over a thousand years.With:Tim Barrett is Professor of East Asian History at the School of Oriental and African Studies; Naomi Standen is Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at Newcastle University; Frances Wood is Head of the Chinese Section at the British Library.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Thu 3 Dec 2009 21:30

Related topics

Featured in...

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

Hildegard of Bingen

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

The Matter of the North

BBC_R4_MELVYN_BRAGG_AHW-1920.jpg

Melvyn Bragg explores the pivotal role of England's north in shaping modern Britain.

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.