Silk Road Week will feature two major exhibitions

Wu Huixin
The China National Silk Museum will host the annual Silk Road Week from June 19 to 24. The theme for this year's event is "Roads Connect, Civilization Blossom."
Wu Huixin

The annual Silk Road Week will run from June 19 to 24 at the China National Silk Museum, offering professionals an opportunity to share their Silk Road stories as well as the most recent research.

The China National Silk Museum is the nation's largest silk history research organization. It hosts the extravaganza every June to display the cultural heritage of the Silk Road, reviving economic ties and cultural connectivity with Eurasia.

In 2014, the UNESCO World Heritage List inscribed the Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor portion of the Silk Road. The museum then serves as a cultural exchange hub for museums and organizations along the historic path.

This year's cultural week contains two major exhibitions to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List and the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and France: "Lyon in the 18th Century" and "Heavenly Palace Chang'an on the Silk Road."

France, a pioneer among European nations in forging diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China, is this year's Guest of Honor. Joining them is Shaanxi Province, whose capital, Xi'an – historically known as Chang'an – was a vital crossroads on the ancient Silk Road.

This year's theme is "Roads Connect, Civilization Blossom." Hundreds of antiquities from different regions will be on display to demonstrate historical and modern-day cultural exchanges along the road, showcasing a rich heritage that spans millennia.

Silk Road Week will feature two major exhibitions
Ti Gong

The "Heavenly Palace" exhibition runs from June 19 to October 7.

The "Heavenly Palace" exhibition, which runs from June 19 to October 7, will feature 210 antiques loaned from 17 museums, including 50 national treasures.

Chang'an was the capital of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and was often regarded as the largest and most prosperous metropolis of its time.

Foreign envoys presented their finest crafts as tributes to the royal court, while merchants traversed vast distances to trade their wares in Chang'an, fostering cultural diversity and expanding the world's perspectives during that era.

The exhibition will showcase a collection of antiques, adorned with Western features and attire, alongside exotic animals, offering a tangible testament to the vibrant trade that flourished along the Silk Road.

Until the establishment of the Silk Road during the Han Dynasty (206 BC–AD 220), camels were uncommon in ancient China. According to historical records, a cavalcade of camels entered the Chang'an area, eventually becoming the primary mode of local transportation. The exhibition features clay camels produced during the Tang Dynasty, which illustrate the indispensable role camels played in the era's commerce and cultural exchanges.

A Tang Dynasty copper mirror, shaped like a lotus blossom and carved with peacock patterns, is a testament to the cultural exchanges spawned by the trade across the borders during the time.

Silk Road Week will feature two major exhibitions
Ti Gong

The "Lyon in the 18th Century" exhibition runs through September 6.

The "Lyon in the 18th Century" exhibition, which runs until September 6, showcases the combination of French aristocratic clothing and Chinese silk. As trade with China expanded, the Chinoiserie style gained popularity in France. The exhibition will feature textiles with asymmetrical ornamentation and patterns that incorporate distinctive Chinese characteristics.

This year, the Silk Road Week will come to an end with an exhibition in Paris in October. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore relics that mirror historical attire, witness the intricate art of fabric weaving, and immerse themselves in the diverse aesthetics that have flourished along the ancient Silk Road.

In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, known as the Belt and Road Initiative. The initiative gives impetus to many cities to host cultural activities with Silk Road themes, and Hangzhou is no exception. Silk Road Week has developed into a platform for cultural exchanges among Belt and Road countries.

By far, the Silk Road Week has attracted over 200 organizations and institutions from around the globe since it began in 2020. In total, over 20 million people attended the offline activities, and the online clicks totaled 500 million.

Silk Road Week will feature two major exhibitions
Ti Gong

A special preview of the exhibitions was held last week to members of the media, influential bloggers and industry insiders.

If you go

Hours: Monday, 12am-5pm; Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm

Venue: China National Silk Museum

Address:73-1 Yuhuangshan Road


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