Life Along the Silk Road Essay example

Words: 1305
Pages: 6

Susan Whitfield writes Life along the Silk Road based on character stories occurring between the eight and tenth century, all living at different times. She writes this history for several reasons. First, she writes it to change the negative perception of the history of Central Asia that we know through the annals of its neighbors. By explaining the history of the region through the eyes of its own occupants, it rids the history of any distorted views from neighboring civilizations. She uses the comparison of trying to examine the life of the Atlantic Ocean by studying the ecology of Europe. Another perception Whitfield attempts to overcome is that of the present day Silk Road. Today, it is largely Islam, and it is occupied by Turkic …show more content…
She then reached the Gobi Desert. Whitfield’s statement about this portion of the journey sums it up. “From here there were many months of marching across the Gobi Desert before the Princess would see water in any abundance, yet alone another river.” Then to finish off the journey, the Princess had to endure the freezing cold accompanied by snow. In total, her journey spans over 1,000 miles, and boredom affects Taihe. Throughout her journey, Taihe also experience several different religions and cultures. She encounters people of Kashmir, Gandhara, Arabia, and Turkish descent, as well as Uighurs. She also travels through Tibetan territory. While traveling, she passes by a Manichean temple, Buddhism is fully assimilated into the society, and her family claims to be descents of the creator of Daoism. Taihe’s encounters with such a diverse group of people shows how the Silk Road brings people together, even though it’s not always in a positive way. Taihe herself was actually given to the Uighurs by the Chinese as a peace settlement. Finally, the aspect of heavy trade along the Silk Road is mentioned several times. At one point, Princess Taihe stops and has wine. This was a very expensive wine that was largely sent to Chang’an where Taihe was from. It also mentioned silk being traded with Uighurs after Taihe’s husband died. The Chinese brought in over a half billion bolts of silk. The Merchant’s Tale includes more bloody battles. This time, it is involving the nomadic