What was the Silk Road?
The ‘silk road’ is a short-hand way of referring to the land and sea trade routes linking Asia and Europe, and the locations in between. Their history stretches back over two millennia, across a timespan punctuated by bloody territorial struggles. At times of peace, however, trade flourished. Those were the hay-days of the silk road.
The last such period spanned the years 1200-1450. This is where the first museum sites will be concentrated. Their focus is on high quality artistic achievement, shared by the elites in the respective societies. The first museum is in Nanjing, the capital of the new Ming dynasty in China. Other sites will follow soon.
The Silk Road was a term invented by the German explorer Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877 CE to describe the overland trade routes between Asia and Europe. Its spanned the period between approximately 200 BCE and 1500 CE, with the intensity of trade fluctuating in inverse proportion to the prevalence of peace and prosperity in the region.
Historians agree that there was silk was probably not the main product, that there was never one road and that, in some places, there was no road at all. Other historians have suggested that, for long periods, the maritime routes between Asia and Europe were more important.
Nevertheless, the term has remained, as a useful metaphor for a complex pattern of economic and cultural exchange.
Our Mission is
- to create a virtual museum of the art and culture of the regions that lay on the trade routes between Europe and Asia, popularly known as the ‘Silk Road’
- to understand that East and West (and everywhere in between) have been interconnected for millennia
- to encourage an understanding and appreciation of the different cultures and societies that spanned the Eurasian continent during the period of the ancient silk road,
- to encourage people to explore their heritage at their own pace and in their own way,
- to encourage visits to physical museums and libraries,
- to stimulate a thirst of further knowledge and investigation,
- to appreciate the flow of cultures across borders and to see their impacts,
- and, not to fear ‘difference’ but to embrace it.
- The Project is directed by VirtualMuseum360
- The museum site is designed and support by V21ArtSpace
- The project is supported by the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden
- The research is being supported by students from the BA Degree in International Studies, Leiden University
- The project development is being encouraged by an international network of scholars
Interested in setting up your own Virtual Museum?
You want people to know about your work and your passions:
- You have a community project that you want to anchor in the community
- You have a school project that deserves wider attention
- You have an archaeological project that wants to show off its finds
- You want simply to share your art-work
- You want to enrich the cultural experience of the online community
Why not make your own museum. It would be open 24/7 and would never have any crowds. Visitors could stay as long and as often as they like. There is no travel time and no travel costs.
VirtualMuseum360 is here to help make this happen.