Ideas and Technologies Spread Along the Silk Road

The Spread of Mind and Body Discipline through Buddhism

The Path of the Pagoda: the transition of an temple style

Gunpowder:
a Circular Journey

Tang Cosmopolitanism: the Silk Road in Poetry

Journey of 100 Li

First Technology

Teacher Section

Section Authors

Trade Makes
the World Small


•The Transmission of Technologies

Technology: the knowledge of how something is done; the technology of silk-making, the technology of paper-making, the technology of wine-making, the technology of printing. All of these processes involve a series of ideas and techniques which were, over time, slowly transmitted across the Silk Road. People along the route initially bought the products: silk, paper, wine, printed books. In time, they learned how to create the products themselves. In some cases, such as silk, the technology was literally smuggled out of a country that was trying to protect its key product. In other cases, such as wine, it was openly given as a gift from one ruler to another.

As ideas and technologies moved across the Silk Road, they were changed. Sometimes technologies improved, sometimes they were simply altered. This section of A Journey of 1000 Li tracks the movement and changes of three different technologies that were passed along the Silk Road: martial arts, the pagoda architecture style and gunpowder.

• Cosmopolitanism

The fourth part of this section tries to capture the cosmopolitan nature of countries involved in the Silk Road trade. This means that these countries and peoples were exposed to, influenced by and interested in ideas, styles and goods from places outside of their home country. In the same way that Americans are exposed to and like food and styles from other countries like pizza from Italy and t-shirts with Chinese characters printed on them, people along the Silk Road had chances to experience the flavors, looks and beliefs of people from all over the world.


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Chinese poem in calligraphy. Source: Tang Cosmopolitanism:
the Silk Road in Poetry
Chinese officials inspecting a cannonGunpowder:
a Circular Journey
The Path of the Pagoda: the transition of an temple style
Martial artistThe Spread of Mind and Body Discipline
through Buddhism, as told by the Chinese legend The Monkey King.