Silk Road Opens at NHM

From spices to gold and rubies, leopard skins or peacock feathers, silk, poetry and ideas, the Silk Road was an ancient route that changed the way humanity interacted by creating a hub for political and economic interactions between the civilizations.

Starting December 22, Angelenos can travel into that mystical world by visiting the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and touring the new exhibit, Traveling the Silk Road. The exhibit’s seven sections, which highlight the route’s golden age, from AD 600 to 1200, include such curiosities as three life-size camel models decked out in full caravan regalia, carrying trade goods and a 41-foot long portion of a full-sized model of an Arab dhow—or sailing vessel—loaded with cargo of ceramics and elaborate metalwork. Stretching from eastern China through the cities of Central Asia to the Middle East, the Silk Road wound its way through a network of land routes that stretched 4,600 miles across blazing desert sands and snowy mountain passes.

Organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Traveling the Silk Road has been seen in Asia and in Rome.  But in Los Angeles, perhaps the most diverse city in the world, the Silk Road carries special meaning. So, the museum has plans to host music, dance and martial arts performances and demonstrations throughout the months of January to April. In addition, the music inspired by the cultures can be heard on Silk Road Radio curated by KCRW’s Tom Schnabel and a special section devoted to Silk Road in L.A., will give viewers suggestions on where to go for Asian, Indian and Persian food and goods.

“There can be no more thrilling way to inaugurate our renovated gallery for temporary exhibitions than to invite visitors to glimpse the spectacular sights of the great ancient civilizations of Asia and the Middle East, to smell the spices, hear stories and music and marvel at the production and pathways of the world’s first great luxury cloth,” states Dr. Jane Pisano, president and director of the museum.

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