Silk Road Trade & Travel Encyclopedia
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Qasim (Muhammad bin Qasim Al-Thaqafi, 695 – 715) was an Umayyad general who, at the age of 17, began the conquest of the Sindh and Punjab regions along the Indus River for the Umayyad Caliphate. He was born in the city of Taif (in modern day Saudi Arabia). Qasim's conquest of Sindh and Punjab laid the foundations of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent. According to scholars, Umayyad interest in the region stemmed from their desire to control the trade route down the Indus River valley to the seaports of Sindh, which was an important link in the ancient Silk Road. The Umayyad's had earlier unsuccessfully sought to gain control of the route, via the Khyber Pass.
Sima Qian The Chinese historian Sima Qian (c. 145 or 135 BCE – 86 BCE) was one of the first Chinese historians. His Shiji, or "Records of the Grand Historian," documents the history of China and its neighboring countries from the ancient past to his own time. Qian offers one of the most earliest accounts of the lives and culture of the people known to the Han Dynasty as the "Xiongnu" (documented in his Shiji, "Record of the Historian." The three volumes cover the Qin and Han dynasties, and describes early Chinese history with an emphasis on Zhang Qian and other explorers of the Silk Road. There is also a detailed description of the tomb of China's First Emperor, which has since been made famous by archeological discoveries in Xian (the city in China where the Silk Road began).
Sima Qian was appointed grand historian of Emperor Wu's court in c. 108 B.C. In his "Records of the Grand Historian" he describes the events which he witnessed or heard of that occurred during his lifetime. He also composed his records from conversations he had with courtiers. In addition, he consulted a documents and records which were stored in the palace. Because he had the ability to interview generals he also was familiar with the military institutions of the Han Dynasty. Sima Qian had the ability to accompany the emperor on his visits to the provinces where he was able to record the information about tribes and lands which were brought under Han rule by Emperor Wu. More...
Zhang Qian (or Chang Chien /Ch'ien) (d. 114 BCE) was the imperial emissary who is credited for the opening of the Silk Road. Zhang Qian's first mission westward was during the Han Dynasty (206BC—220AD), when he traveled upon the Silk Routes between 138-125 BCE. Because the Chinese Emperor Wudi sought tranquility on China's steppe frontier, the Chinese emperor sent the emissary Zhang Qian on a mission to persuade the Yüeh-chih king to form an alliance against the Hsiung-nu (Xiongnu). Qian also led a diplomatic mission that brought gold and silk products to Loulan (now Ruoqiang), Weili, Huqa, Kashi, Hotan, Wusum, Dawan, Kangju, Dayuesi and a number of other regions in Xinjiang. His assistant travelled to Anxi (now Iran), India, and a number of other countries. These countries and regions in turn also sent diplomatic missions to China, which helped the region of Xinjiang to develop trade. The second expedition undertaken by Zhang Qian in 119-115 BCE enabled China to establish diplomatic relations with Fergana, Bactria, and Sogdiana. Simi Quin is responsible for the "Record of the Grand Historian" which describes early Chinese history with an emphasis on Zhang Qian and other explorers. (See also Wudi / Chien) More...
Qian Mausoleum and Museum (Qianling) is the joint tomb of Gaozong (Li Zhi, 628-683 AD), the third emperor of the Tang Dynasty and his Empress Consort, Wu Zetian (624-705 AD). Wu Zetian was the first and only Empress to rule in Chinese history. The tomb lies on Liangshan Hill, 80 kilometers from Xi'an, the beginning of the Silk Road. In order to commemorate the tribal heads in the Western Regions and the envoys from foreign countries that attended Gaozong's funeral, Empress Wu Zetian ordered stone statues carved. Towers are flanked with 61 stone statues of honored guests. The commissioning of these figures attests to the Tang Dynasty's power and prosperity, as well as its friendly relations with minority peoples in frontier areas and with other central Asian countries. Wearing tight-sleeved clothes, broad belts and leather shoes, these figures cup their hands in front in an attitude of prayer. More than half the heads have been defaced, however two statues whose heads are complete, have high noses and deep-set eyes and were probably from the Western Regions or Central Asia. Originally on the back of each statue, the name, official title, and nationality of each person was carved. Most of the characters are already undecipherable, however characters on the backs of the two stone representatives from Iran and Afghanistan, can still be seen.
A monument to Tang Emperor Gaozong, which symbolizes the Seven Elements (the Sun, the Moon, Metal, Wood, Water, Earth, and Fire) contains over 8,000 words, praising Gaozong's political and military achievements. The famous "Wordless Tablet" on the eastern side of the Phoenix Gate (a tablet with no word at the emperor's mausoleum) has never been found before in China. More...
Qilian Mountains forms the border between the two Chinese provinces of Qinghai and Gansu (it is part of the Kunlun, one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, which form the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau south of the Tarim basin and the Gansu corridor and continues east south of the Wei River to North China).
Qin Shi Huang Di (See Shaan, Xi'an, Chang'an) By 221 B.C. China's first emperor, Qin, had unified a collection of warring kingdoms and took the name of Qin Shi Huang—the First Emperor of Qin (China's name is derived from the dynasty named after Qin). He made his capital in Shaan. "China" can be said to have began in Shaanxi province when the first Emperor Qin finished conquering and united the warring states. The province is also the starting point of the famed Silk Road.
The Terra-Cotta Army Protects
tomb of China's First
Thousands of clay soldiers, each with unique facial expressions, and positioned according to rank, are ready for battle,
and to accompany the first emperor of China into the afterlife.
Qinghai Lake (and Bird Island) historically known as Koko Nor, or Kuku Nor, or Kukunor (from the Mongolian name, literally meaning "Blue Lake"), is a saline lake situated in the province of Qinghai, and is the largest inland lake in China.
Qinghai Province One branch of the Silk Road stretched west from Lanzhou in Gansu to Qinghai Province, through Xining, Golmud, then north to Dunhuang, finally converging with the main route. Qinghai is home to the Ta'er lamasery, also known as Kumbum monastery (one of six temples of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism). The lamasery combines Tibetan and Han architectural styles, and was built to sit perfectly upon the slopes of the mountain in Lusha'er town.
Qinling Mountains rich in wildlife and human history, are near Xi'an, the capital city of the province of Shaanxi. Xi`an is one of the six ancient Chinese capitals and was the starting point of the world-famous “Silk Road.” Because the climate varies so much between the different altitudes of the forests of Qinling Mountains, a great variety of plants and animals have existed. Many Qinling plants are rare and endangered, including the Ginkgo, one of the oldest tree species in the world. The Chinese Mountain Larch, the Miaotai Maple and the Chinese Fir are also highly endangered and therefore listed by the Chinese Government as protected species. The animals of this region include the Golden Monkey, Golden Takin, Crested Ibis, Golden Eagle, and Clouded Leopard. It is one of the few remaining natural habitats where China’s national symbol, the giant panda, lives.
Qinling Panda After the year 2000, approximately 1000 pandas were found in the wild. The Qinling Mountains, in Shaanxi Province in China, are the northernmost distribution area for the giant panda, and one of the areas with the densest panda population. The Qinling panda population is an independent panda population with about 200-300 pandas. It has been found mainly in the Foping, Yang County, Ningshan, Taibai and Chenggu areas of Qinling.
Qocho (See Gaochang)
Queen of Sheba Due to different accounts and sources, the famous Queen of Sheba is a mixture of legend and reality. There are many myths regarding the riches of her land and civilization. The Queen of Sheba is believed to have ruled the Arabian trading kingdom of Sheba (in addition to Yemen, her historical kingdom most likely included part of modern day Ethiopia and Eritrea). She is referred to in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. The earliest reference to the Queen of Sheba is in the Old Testament Book of Kings, in which she arrives in Jerusalem with a very large caravan and presents Solomon with gold, spices, and precious stones. She is also commonly associated with incense, and the "incense routes." Like many subjects about the Silk Road, it is sometimes difficult for historians and archaeologists to separate fact from fantasy. Recent archaeological findings suggest that ancient routes were being use in prehistoric times. There is also evidence that ancient routes were used by the Ancient Egyptians, and some scholars suggest trade networks have existed for almost 3,000 years. More...
Solomon and the Queen of Sheba
Oil painting by Frans Francken the Elder, dated 1542-1616
Qubilai Khan (See Kublai Khan)
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