On the Silk Road in London

The Society held its first summer course on the ‘Silk Road’ from the 8th – 11th July.  We had 8 attendees and Dr Susan Whitfield lectured on the history of the Silk Road trade routes, as well as the activities of 20th century explorers, aspects of  silk production, books and printing, glass, ceramics and metalware. Dr Alison Ohta talked about the history of the Islamic book and the transfer of ornament. Participants were able to view Persian manuscripts in the Society’s collections, along with photographs of archaeological excavations taken by Sir Marc Aurel Stein, the renowned archaeologist and explorer of the Silk Road. On Wednesday afternoon, participants joined a guided walk and lecture by Dr Peter Coles, examining black, white and paper mulberry trees growing in St. James’ Park.  This photo shows a green parakeet enjoying the mulberries.

Attendees also visited the British Library, where Mélodie Doumy of the International Dunhuang Project presented important Tangut, Khotanese, Sogdian and Uighur manuscripts from the collection. It was an intensive but enjoyable week and the Society would like to extend our warm thanks and appreciation to those who signed up and contributed to the engaging discussions that accompanied the lectures every day. We hope to hold it again next year.

The Society is pleased to be able to host a lecture next week, at 6.30pm on Tuesday 30 July, when Dr Sarah Tiffin will deliver a lecture on “Raffles and the Course of Empire: Decoding Ruin Imagery in The History of Java”. We hope you will be able to join us then.