Silk Road Virtual Museum eLibraries

The eLibraries offer free and immediate access to online resources for anyone wanting to explore further the context of the museum’s artifacts. As the museum develops, more resources, in more languages, will be added.

Subscribers to the newsletter will receive updates on all new developments. Any suggestions for additions to this list will be welcome.

Chess Along The Silk Road

Chess Along The Silk Road

The modern game of chess is a perfect example of cultural exchange along the silk roads. Starting in the North-West of the Indian subcontinent, it entered Persia sometime around the 6th century CE. The game was carried to China by Buddhist monks, and by Islamic armies and traders throughout Central Asia. The Moorish conquest of Spain introduced the game into Europe, where it was eventually codified into its current form.

read more
The Timurid Court

The Timurid Court

Even by the standards of the time, Timur’s wars of conquest were particularly murderous but he and his successors promoted the arts and sciences and embellished their cities, especially Samarkand and Herat, with beautiful examples of Islamic architecture and splendid gardens. The miniature paintings in the exhibition offers a glimpse into the sumptuous life in the Timurid Court.

read more
Sogdians: Silk Road Traders

Sogdians: Silk Road Traders

The Sogdians were originally an eastern Iranian civilisation but were later concentrated in Central Asia, with Samarkand as the main city. Literally straddling the ancient silk roads, many became traders and settled in communities throughout Asia, but especially in China. Wherever they went, they took their language, culture and traditions with them. In the 8th century their civilisation became eclipsed by the Muslim conquests in the West and by their association an unsuccessful rebellion in China.

read more
Map Room 700-1500CE

Map Room 700-1500CE

This is the latest version of an electronic library of resources supporting the Map Room exhibition. It offers free and immediate access to online resources for anyone wanting to explore further the context of the exhibition’s maps.

read more
Mamluk Glass

Mamluk Glass

This is the latest version of an electronic library of resources supporting the exhibition devoted to glass production under the Mamluk rulers of Egypt. It offers free and immediate access to online resources for anyone wanting to explore further the context of the museum’s artifacts.

read more
Trowulan (1293-1450/1500) Majapahit (Java)

Trowulan (1293-1450/1500) Majapahit (Java)

The Majapahit kingdom was the last Hindu-Buddhist empire in the Indonesian archipelago. Trowulan was its capital. At its height, the kingdom controlled a vast network of tribute relations (the exact nature of which is even now in dispute) stretching into Sumatra, the Malay peninsula and the coastal regions of Borneo. After a bitter succession struggle in 1405-06 its fortunes declined.

read more
Venice (1261-1450)

Venice (1261-1450)

Venice reached the peak of its imperial reach at the start of the 13th century with the seizure and sacking of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In the aftermath, Venice acquired Crete and several other islands in the Aegean. In 1261, however, the recapture of Constantinople by the Michael VIII with the help of Genoa, Venice’s chief trade rival in the region, dealt a blow to the city’s prestige and prosperity.

read more
Sis (Cilicia 1226-1375)

Sis (Cilicia 1226-1375)

Cilicia was a Christian Armenian kingdom situated in an area broadly comparable the south-eastern borders of Turkey with the Mediterrean. The fortress city of Sis was its capital. The region lay at a strategic position, just south of the mountain ranges between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.

read more
Overland Silk Roads History

Overland Silk Roads History

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. It spanned the period between approximately 200 BCE and 1500 BCE, with the intensity of trade fluctuating in inverse proportion to the prevalence of peace and prosperity in the region.

read more
Nanjing (1368-1450)

Nanjing (1368-1450)

Mongols had ruled China since 1271 but plague, disease and increasing demands on the population led to discontent and revolt. In 1356 rebel forces seized Nanjing and it eventually became the capital of the new Ming dynasty.

read more
Maritime Silk Roads History

Maritime Silk Roads History

Read through carefully selected articles and resources on the history of the Maritime Silk Roads. Some resources are available in English or Chinese.

read more

Want to be alerted when a new Virtual Museum opens?

Sign up to the Silk Road Virtual Museum Newsletter