Life Along the Silk Road Essay

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Life Along The Silk Road

During the outward-looking rule of China's Tang dynasty (seventh-ninth century C. E. ), sophisticated people in northeastern Iran developed such a taste for expensive, imported Chinese pottery that they began to imitate it in great quantity for sale to people who could not afford the real thing. And in northern China there was a vogue for beautiful pottery figurines of camels laden with caravan goods or ridden by obviously non-Chinese merchants, musicians, or entertainers. Non-Chinese camel figurines found in Mesopotamia carry loads that duplicate the distinctive appearance of the loads on the Chinese figurines. So it is clear that by the time of the rise of Islam in the seventh century, contact across the Silk …show more content…

“…these [camels] protectors of the hot winds with their fur…” and “…foretellers of gust winds as they stuck their snouts in the sand whenever a gust of wind picked up …” (Whitefield 146).
Camels afford us one glimpse of how this system came into being. The two-humped or Bactrian camel was native to central Asia and Iran and was used as a domestic animal from at least the third millennium BCE. onward. The one-humped camel was native to Saudi Arabia. Physically the two species share resistance to thirst and to hunger, which probably explains the survival of both of these comparatively defenseless species in regions too arid or barren to support many predators. They differ, however, in their resistance to heat. The two-humped camel has a long, shaggy coat during the winter and molts in the spring; one-humped breeds have much less hair in their torrid native climate of Arabia (Oliver).
It is reasonable to assume that two-humped pack camels were used from the beginning by travelers along the Silk Road. Once they got to Mesopotamia, however, they must have suffered terribly from summer heat. Yet summer was the most likely time of arrival because the several-month journey from northern China usually began in the fall, when the camels were in best condition after a summer of grazing (William/ Spielvogel 251).
Of course, it must have been evident to traders that Mesopotamia had its own camel, the one-humped animal herded in

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