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09 March 2020Treasures of the Silk Road - from China to the Mediterranean
19 November 2020The Power and Glory of our Country Houses

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Treasures of the Silk Road - from China to the Mediterranean Christopher Bradley Monday 09 March 2020

Christopher is an expert in the history and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. As a professional tour guide and lecturer he has led groups throughout the Middle East and Asia. Has written extensively on Arabia and is the author of The Discovery Guide to YemenInsight Guide to the Silk Road and Berlitz Guides to Libya; The Red Sea; Cairo; Abu Dhabi and Nile Cruising. As a photographer has pictures represented by four photographic libraries. A broad range of lecturing experience, including to the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Institute of British Architects. As a film producer and cameraman he has made documentaries for the BBC, National Geographic TV and Channel 4.

The Silk Road is the greatest trade route the world has ever known. It extended over 8000 kms from China through Central Asia to the Mediterranean. With the Greek invasion of Alexander the Great, early Persian routes spread east towards India, until stability finally allowed the Chinese to trade silk, jade and ceramics in exchange for horses, pearls and gold. Silk was just one of the many products traded for 1,400 years. The route also acted as a highway for beliefs, ideas, inventions and art. Buddhism spread throughout Western China and there are wonderful paintings from the Magao caves at Dunhuang and the 'Caves of the Thousand Buddhas' at Bezeklik in the Flaming Mountains. Central Asia was the main link with the West where many trading cities became wealthy and important centres for the arts. Samarkand and Bukhara are the beginning of the great Islamic buildings that continue through Persia and Syria. The Roman Empire was the destination of silk and all the other commodities which eventually arrived at the Mediterranean coast. Along the way of this great journey we will see traditional murals, ceramics, statues, carpets, architecture, mosaics, tile-work, rock-carvings and of course silk itself.

The three sessions are:

Session 1: China and the East

Session 2: Central Asia

Session 3: The Levant and near East

Note that this study day will be held in the Sidholme Music Room and the booking form can be found here