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Along the Silk Route

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Along the Silk Route

A journey along the ancient Silk Route from Khiva in Uzbekistan to Kashgar in China looking at the textiles we found along the way.

Although long gone, the ancient Silk Route which linked China with the west, still retains a memory of former textile glories. This section of the route begins in Khiva and passes through the desert khanates of Bokhara and Samarkhand, across wild and mountainous Kyrgyzstan and finishes on the remote and desolate far western border of China.

The people of these regions have seen huge changes to their traditional ways of life and cultural values by Soviet or Han Chinese domination as well as the ever-present demands of 21st century life. However, hand made textiles still play a central role in everyday life and in many cases, production of handicrafts of all kinds is making a triumphant return.

Jim and I have recently completed an overland trip along the Silk Route focusing on textile producing centres. On the way we discovered carpet making, natural dyeing, fine suzani embroidery, felt making and silk ikat weaving.