The arrival of glass in China in the late Bronze Age indicates the early existence of significant overland trade routes connecting China with central Asia and beyond. By the Han dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) we know that there were also well-established sea-routes. Not just merchandise was carried along such trade routes; they were the ancient internet linking cultures and transmitting artistic traditions, new ideas and religions such as Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. Here is a selection of objects which demonstrate the richness brought to Chinese thought and art by contacts with other cultures.
A bigger picture
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