Mohamed Abla: On the Silk Road


Sweet-scented spices, glittering jewels and generous rolls of supple silk were often brought westward by traders along the Silk Road. A network of merchantry routes that were formally established during the Han Dynasty of China, this complex labyrinth connected the East to West and, by doing so, linked ancient peoples in commerce. Named by the German geographer, geologist and traveller Ferdinand von Richthofen, who called the meandering passages ‘Seidenstrasse’, luxury products ranging from solid gold nuggets to bundles of wool would be exchanged, both on land and over seas. The Silk Road transported more than just merchandise, however; intellectual and cultural exchanges were inescapable, and had a profound impact on various civilisations for generations.