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The Silk Road is a Road of “Silk”
Rong Xinjiang(Peking University)
The “Silk Road” was the name, F. von Richthofen, a German geographer, gave in 1877 to the traffic routes between China and the southern and western parts of Central Asia and India in the Han Dynasty. F. von Richthofen believed that silk was the foundation of ancient trade. The routes were extended and widened later, and their role as the way of communication between China and the outside world had taken hold. There were different opinions among the scholars on how to name these routes. Some believed that they should be called the “Jade Road”, while others argued that they should be called the “Buddhism Road”. Still there were some who thought that they should be called the “Ceramic Road”, the “Tea Road”, the “Lazurite Road”, the “Buddha’s Warrior Attendant Road”, etc. From different research perspectives, these names just emphasized a certain aspect of the way of communication between China and the west. In broad terms, there has been no any other name capable of replacing the name of “Silk Road” so far. People have been used to calling it that way. Furthermore, the Silk Road was indeed a road of “Silk”.

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