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Along the Silk Roadby Elizabeth Ten Grotenhuis
Synopses & Reviews
In 1998 renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma founded the Silk Road Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization devoted to the living arts of peoples of traditional Silk Road lands. One of the major components of this exciting, multi-year venture has been the commissioning of new works by composers from Silk Road regions to be played in concerts and festivals throughout the world. An equally fascinating part of the project is the exploration of ways that traditional cultural expression can help revitalize contemporary culture, a goal exemplified by this volume, itself part of the Silk Road Project activities.
The greater Silk Road encompassed certain sea routes and the loose system of trails that crossed the mountains and deserts of Central Asia to connect East Asia and the Mediterranean. This historical network, at its height from the second century B.C.E. until the fourteenth century, was the most cosmopolitan area on earth. Merchants carrying fine silks and lacquers westward from China would mingle with traders bringing fragile Roman glass to the east or with Indians seeking markets for carved ivory cosmetic boxes and gold ornaments for fashionable women. It was by these routes, too, that the religions of Buddhism and Islam, among others, spread throughout Asia.
This richly illustrated, lively book is keynoted by Yo-Yo Ma's candid insights into contemporary music and the Silk Road. Distinguished contributors who explore the present-day Silk road and its absorbing history include a composer, an ethnomusicologist, an archaeologist, a photographer, a scientist, a film critic, and two art historians.
"The material is fascinating, and the presentation is clear and accessible to nonscholars." Library Journal
"Blessed with one of the most fascinating, cosmopolitan histories on Earth, the region of the route manifests the closest thing to a culture of East-West synthesis that can be found. The book's perceptive essays on topics ranging from astrology to technological evolution come alive in the stunning accompanying pictures, which convey the tremendous vitality and the haunting isolation found along the Silk Road." Booklist
"This illustrated volume explores the ways that traditional modes of cultural expression along the Silk Road...inform, and can help to revitalize, contemporary culture. The contributors include the distinguished classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma...who discusses whether music has 'an East and West.' " Middle East Journal
Book News Annotation:
The cellist Yo Yo Ma is the founder of the Silk Road Project, designed to promote knowledge of the history, arts, and culture of an area spanning Central Asia into China. The Project was the guiding force behind this catalog, published by the U. of Washington Press for the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian. Chapters present essays and photos on music, textiles, astrology, sacred sites (featuring the photos of Kenro Izu), ancient bronzes, Iranian film, and an interview with Ma.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Contributors of this volume explore the present-day Silk Road and its absorbing history and include a composer, an ethnomusicologist, an archaeologist, a photographer, a scientist, a film critic and two art historians.
This richly illustrated, lively book is keynoted by Yo-Yo Ma's candid insights into contemporary music and the Silk Road routes of Asia. Other contributors explore the Silk Road in their roles as archaeologists, photographers, scientists and film critics. Illustrations.
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Arts and Entertainment » Art » Asia and Far East