ACM: New Archaeological Evidence from the Southern Silk Road: Debating the Origins of Bronze Production in Myanmar
Most of us are familiar with the Silk Road and to a lesser extent, the Maritime Silk Road. The Southern Silk Road, however, tends to draw a blank. On Wed, I attended a fascinating talk at the Asian Civilisation Museum by Dr Elizabeth Moore from SOAS, London, on "
The Southern Silk Road refers to the precursor of the now oft-promoted Tea-Horse Route () which brings Yunnan tea across mountains and valleys from Yunnan across Tibet and Myanmar to Eastern India. Dr Moore had done extensive archaeological work in Myanmar, in particular, those in the Samon and Chindwan Valleys of northern and central Myanmar not too far from Naypidaw, the new capital. Many bronze objects were found in this region which dated to as far back as 600 B.C., which looked similar to those found in sites belonging to the mysterious Dian ( ) kingdom of Yunnan. These may indicate the existence of a Southern Silk Road which existed even before the Tea-Horse Road. In fact, there are some theories that propose that such a route would extend across the Tibetan Plateau to link up with the historic Great Silk Road.
Among the fascinating bronze artifacts found were men or deities sitting in foetal position (- I was tempted to suggest that these are in positions similar to the mummies found among the tribes in Wamena Valley, West Papua, Indonesia and of the Ifugao people in Luzon, Philippines), small reddish, cute and almost-cartoonish tiger carvings and enigmatic mother goddesses.
I look forward to more exciting talks at the ACM in the future.
Details from the ACM: