Along the Silk Road

29 October Along the Silk Road
by Cherry Gilchrist

Cherry Gilchrist is an author of a wide range of books whose themes include the Silk Road, Russian mythology, family history, Tarot, alchemy and feminine archetypes. She has also lectured widely on Russian culture and the Silk Road and is a former NADFAS speaker. Cherry has also run a Russian arts gallery and a vintage clothing store. She has a degree in English and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and has also undertaken postgraduate study at the University of Bath Spa. Cherry lives in Topsham with her husband, the artist Robert Lee-Wade. Her particular interests are singing, Dartmoor and travel – travel includes several trips to Silk Road countries and voyages to Easter Island and Burma.

The Silk Road is an ancient trade route running from East to West. Silk was once China’s great secret, but Roman demand for it opened the way for caravans and merchants to travel between Europe and the Orient. The trade was two-way and all sorts of other goods were traded too, including rhubarb, paper and ostriches. The Silk Road was also a melting pot for swapping stories and spreading art and culture from one country to another.

The art of the Silk Road includes the superb cave paintings of Dunhuang and the distinctive Ghandaran art form along with the magnificent mosques and palaces of Samarkand and the handsome caravanserais in which merchants stayed and swapped their stories.

Other topics covered in the talk are the making of silk, the skills of navigating through the desert and the perils which travellers encountered along the way. It will also show some of the living artistic heritage of the Silk Road, as in Uzbek pottery, the felt rugs of Kirghiz nomads and the painted house of Kashgar. The art of the bazaar, with its superb displays all the way from the East to Istanbul, is also a sign that the traditions of the Silk Road are still alive.