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Discoveries Reveal A Flourishing Dunhuang 1,000 Years Ago
Xinhuanet ^ | 3-21-2004 | China View

Posted on 03/21/2004 2:37:15 PM PST by blam

Discoveries reveal a flourishing Dunhuang 1,000 years ago 2004-03-21 15:20:33

LANZHOU, March 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Documents and other cultural objects unearthed from China's Mogao Grottoes, in northwest Gansu Province, provide evidence that Dunhuang was a flourishing international trade city over 1,000 years ago.

Professor Zheng Binglin, also a research fellow with the Dunhuang Studies Institute of the Lanzhou University, made the conclusion based on his research on documents and other cultural objects of late Tang Dynasty (618-907) and Five Dynasties period (907-960).

Dunhuang city, located in the western part of Gansu, is now a famous tourism city because it has the Mogao Grottoes and many other historical sites. It was made a county by the central authorities of Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.) and gradually became one of the commercial cities along the ancient Silk Road, that connected China and Central Asia over 2,000 years ago.

The Mogao Grottoes, popularly known as the Thousand Buddha Caves, were carved out of the rocks stretching for about 1,600 metes along the eastern side of the Mingsha Hill, 25 kilometers southeast of Dunhuang City.

From the "Cave for Preserving Scriptures", archaeologists found more than 50,000 sutras, documents and paintings covering a period from the 4th to the 11th centuries.

Related documents show that by the Tang Dynasty and even earlier, more than 20 kinds of commodities such as cotton cloth, silk products, iron tools, silver, jade and bamboo utensils, animal husbandry products, medicines, cosmetics, foodstuffs, dyestuff and weapons had been traded on local markets.

These commodities came from neighboring Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Tibet and central parts of China, and various products from East, West and South Asia and Europe.

Documents recorded that some of these goods were consumed by locals of Dunhuang, but most of them were transported and sold in other places of China.

Apart from foreign missions engaged in official trading activities, there were business people who were engaged in long-distance transportation of commodities and some of them had settled down in Dunhuang.

Among them, business people of nomadic Sogd tribe form Central Asia had operated hotels in Dunhuang.

It is estimated that Dunhuang had a population of over 30,000 at that time.

Dunhuang documents also included many ethnic scripts from groups such as Ouigour and Sogd people. Related documents show that some business people employed translators to help them in trading commodities.

Professor Zheng said an international trade city was characterized by three features: commodities from different countries and regions; people of different nationalities, and currencies of various countries circulated on the local market.

Documents and archaeological discoveries show that gold and silver money and utensils from the western regions and Central Asia were used as hard currencies for trade settlement in Dunhuang during the Tang and the Five Dynasties period, and such currencies,just as silk products, were widely accepted by locals, according to Zheng. Enditem

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1000; ago; discoveries; dunhuang; flourishing; godsgravesglyphs; reveal; silkroad; victorsariyiannidis; viktorsarianidi; viktorsarigiannidis; years
Dunhuang is in the area of the Jade Gate in the Great Wall Of China. This is the same region where the Red-Headed Mummies dating to 2,000BC were found.

The world's oldest newspaper, with the Indo-European language Tocharian written on it, were found just a short way from here at Loulan.

1 posted on 03/21/2004 2:37:15 PM PST by blam
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To: farmfriend; Fedora
GGG ping.
2 posted on 03/21/2004 2:45:55 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Thanks! The time period mentioned would coincide with the Viking era; I'd be interested to know if Viking artifacts were included among any of the items mentioned here:

These commodities came from neighboring Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Tibet and central parts of China, and various products from East, West and South Asia and Europe.

3 posted on 03/21/2004 3:05:52 PM PST by Fedora
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To: blam
I went to Dunhuang in 1987. As we were driving in to where the caves are there was this long wall inscribed in Chinese and English, "To Preserve Cultural Artifacts is Everyone's Duty." Uh-oh, I thought, sounds bad! Sure enough, when we got to the caves everything that we saw was vandalized and very badly maintained. Thanks, Commies!
4 posted on 03/21/2004 5:16:47 PM PST by rogue yam
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.
5 posted on 03/21/2004 10:45:17 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: blam
How much was a newspaper in those days? Did Gutenberg get royalties? ... what does Rupert Murdich have to say about this?
6 posted on 03/23/2004 1:03:06 PM PST by Henchman (I Hench, therefore I am!)
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· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
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7 posted on 02/19/2009 1:36:57 AM PST by SunkenCiv ( Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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(file from David Derrick files)

Archaeological finds reveal prehistoric civilization along Silk Road

8 posted on 04/05/2014 9:06:15 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Obama is now making Jimmy Carter look like Attila the Hun. /focus/news/3138768/posts)
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