Historical Early China Empire

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Bikiro
Words 490
Pages 2
Think-piece #1
I will be focusing my thinkpiece on the tales from the Life along the Silk Road by Susan Whitfield.
What stood out to me, as I read these tales, was the imagery that Whitfield painted in my mind. It was as though each tale was like a documentary, albeit a short one that showed the past lives of average people that you don’t normally see or read about. Whether you were a merchant, soldier, or horseman, each tale had its own spin on what the value of the Silk Road was to them.
To begin with, Nanaivandak, the merchant, saw the Silk Road as an opportunity to travel and explore the vast mountains of Central Asia (Whitfield, 37). He thought that the “mountain scenery [was] endlessly fascinating” as he travelled with his uncle on trading trips. However, his uncle travelled simply for the reason of monetary gain; a vast contrast to his nephew who travelled for adventure and excitement. It must have been wonderful to hear the hustle and bustle of a trading town with tens of different languages and spices dazzling the senses with their smells (Whitfield, 28). No wonder Nanaivandak cultivated a sense for travelling! Although I must note, Nanaivandak’s travels were only possible because of the relative stability of the Tang Empire and its open policy of welcoming foreigners into their land.
As a beginner to China’s history, the Tibetan Empire was what surprised me the most. I did not know that Tibet and China were so interwoven together especially with regards to military engagements in order to control the Silk Road, a portal to the West. I had always thought that Tibet was a victim and China the oppressors from the modern portrayal in the media. From learning this information about the might of the Tibetans (Whitfield, 55), I have a better understanding of China’s current and past relations with Tibet. The first account of the soldier, Seg Lhaton, was…...

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