The Silk Road in the Digital Space
The Silk Road in Rare Books is a series of ten articles that have been compiled based on the rare books contained in the Digital Silk Road archives (See the list of articles in the table of contents on the right). In this introductory article, we take a look at the overall history of the Silk Road in terms of time, space and themes.
Beginning from the viewpoint of “Time,” we start by tracing the several thousand-year history of the Silk Road from ancient to modern times. We next examine the Silk Road in terms of “Space,” following the main routes which formed these long-distance overland trade roads from east to west. Finally, we take up several notable Silk Road events to explore the history of the Silk Road in terms of themes.
The Digital Silk Road is an attempt to take a fresh look at the scholarly achievements of those archaeologists, art historians and adventurers of the past. In doing so, we seek to look again at the important documents that these scholars left behind, and by digitally archiving them, make these valuable resources more accessible.
It is our belief that the documents will serve as a significant resource through which people will be able to utilize from their own individual points of view, and in this way come to create new understandings and interpretations of Silk Road history and culture.
The documents contained in the digital Silk Road archives were compiled in great part by explorers from the nineteenth to the twentieth century (09) who risked their lives to travel over the then-obscure regions along Silk Road in order to make their valuable discoveries. It is our hope that in the future, explorers can travel in this digital world, and in doing so, they too can excavate all kinds of important information buried in the archives.
Containing endless possibilities for producing new images of the Silk Road, it is possible that future digital explorers will then go on to share their findings will many others via the Internet; in this way preserving and passing down these valuable resources to posterity.