Silk Road Case Study

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The Silk Road - named for its main export, silk – was, in fact, a series of routes that revolutionised trade in the ancient world. Established in the 2nd century BC, the road connected almost every major ancient super power (Jenkins, 2012) (Mark, 2014). This expansion of intercontinental trade and travel brought about by The Silk Road significantly impacted Asian societies. The adoption of Buddhism in China and economic growth of towns along the route exemplify such change. The Silk Road was responsible for the emergence of Buddhism in China with travelling monks stopping to preach to Chinese provinces along the route. Such towns also experienced economic growth as a result of the increased income incurred by trade and from travellers.
The increased interactions of travellers, merchants and locals incited by trading along the Silk Road resulted in the spread of ideas, in particular Buddhism to China. This adoption of the religion is thought to have been instigated by Indian Buddhist monks who accompanied Silk Road caravans in order to ensure safe passage to China (Buckley-Ebrey, 1996, p. 59). Such monks are depicted in the Mogoa Caves. This series of Chinese caves, located close to the Silk Road, were carved by Buddhist monks as lodges and temples. Here, we find a surplus of Buddhist artefacts including a 9th century painting of a travelling monk, indicated by his well-stocked pack [Picture labelled of PPT] (British Museum, 2015). This monks also carries a range of scrolls thought to be sutras, records of Buddhist practices
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The Silk Road established a platform to the spread ideas which Buddhist monks use to travel to China and convert entire cities, such as Khotan, to Buddhism. Smaller cities like those in Sogdiana as a result of the new financial opportunities the Silk Road brought to towns along the route changing their people’s

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