Life Along the Silk Road Essay

1430 Words 6 Pages
Life Along The Silk Road

During the outward-looking rule of China's Tang dynasty (seventh-ninth century C. E. ), sophisticated people in northeastern Iran developed such a taste for expensive, imported Chinese pottery that they began to imitate it in great quantity for sale to people who could not afford the real thing. And in northern China there was a vogue for beautiful pottery figurines of camels laden with caravan goods or ridden by obviously non-Chinese merchants, musicians, or entertainers. Non-Chinese camel figurines found in Mesopotamia carry loads that duplicate the distinctive appearance of the loads on the Chinese figurines. So it is clear that by the time of the rise of Islam in the seventh century, contact across the Silk
…show more content…
But the one-humped camel obviously could not take the cold of a central Asian winter. Not surprisingly, some people experimented with interbreeding one- and two-humped camels. The earliest evidence of this comes from the first century B. C. E. after the Silk Road had been opened up.
The hybrid was called a bukht and was the ideal animal for the Silk Road and other cold-weather caravan areas such as Iran, Anatolia, and Afghanistan. The problem was that the bukht, though fertile, produced offspring that were either runt, if the mate was another bukht, or ordinary one or two-humped camels depending upon the species of the other parent. In short, the ideal caravan camel had to be steadily manufactured like a car or a truck. There could never be any herds of bukhts producing more of their kind, and caravaneers could not simply buy bukht replacement animals from the nearest nomadic tribe since there was no particular reason for the tribe to have any for its own purposes “Karabalghasun residents were new to these species [camels; perhaps two-humped] as they venture into town ….” (Whitfield 76).
Most of the evidence for the extensive breeding of bukhts comes from the Islamic period, which makes it plausible that the Arab conquests of the seventh century accelerated the process of livestock change. Moreover, Tang dynasty figurines rarely show the bukht,

Related Documents