Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Exhibition: Silk Roads

Location

British Museum,

Great Russell Street, London,
WC1B 3DG

Dates

This exhibition runs from Thu, 26th Sep 2024 to Sun, 23rd Feb 2025.

This exhibition has not opened yet. Will open on Thu, 26th Sep 2024

Cost: £17

Description

Camel caravans crossing desert dunes, merchants trading silks and spices at bazaars – these are the images that come to mind when we think of the Silk Roads. But the reality goes far beyond this.

This exhibition challenges and expands the modern popular concept of the ‘Silk Road’ as a simple history of trade between ‘East’ and ‘West’.

In fact, rather than a single trade route, the Silk Roads were made up of overlapping networks linking communities across Asia, Africa and Europe, from Japan to Britain, Scandinavia to Madagascar.

Ambitious in its scope and vast in its geographical coverage, this major new show will be the first to look at how the epic journeys of people, objects and ideas along the Silk Roads shaped cultures and histories. The Silk Roads were in use for millennia, and the forthcoming exhibition will focus on a defining period in their history, from about AD 500–1000. These centuries saw significant leaps in connectivity and the rise of universal religions that linked communities across continents.

Structured into five geographical zones that take visitors on their own Silk Roads journey, the exhibition showcases more than 300 objects – including generous loans by 29 lenders from national and international institutions. From Indian garnets found in Suffolk to Iranian glass unearthed in Japan, they reveal the astonishing reach of these networks.

Many of the items will be on display in the UK for the very first time, including the oldest group of chess pieces ever found and a monumental six-metre-long wall painting from the ‘Hall of the Ambassadors’ in Afrasiab (Samarkand), Uzbekistan. The painting evokes the cosmopolitanism of the Sogdians from Central Asia who were great traders during this period.

Other items on loan come via new partnerships with museums in both Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, demonstrating the importance of Central Asia in this continent-spanning tale.

Silk Roads will also be the first exhibition in the Museum’s history to have a multi-curatorial approach, featuring objects from across the institution.

Visitors will also meet figures whose stories are entwined with the Silk Roads, including Willibald, an ingenious balsam smuggler from England, and a legendary Chinese princess who shared the secrets of silk farming with her new kingdom. Covering deserts, mountains, rivers and seas, the Silk Roads tell a story of connection between cultures and continents, centuries before the development of the globalised world we know today.


Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

No need to book tickets - just turn up on the day.

Disclaimer

The information and prices in this listing are presumed to be correct at the time of publishing, but please always check with the venue before making a special trip.

All images are supplied by the exhibition organiser.

This exhibition has not opened yet. Will open on Thu, 26th Sep 2024

This event runs over several days/weeks. Dates include:

September 2024

October 2024

November 2024

December 2024

January 2025

February 2025

Location

British Museum,

Great Russell Street, London,
WC1B 3DG

Map
Map

 

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