[Epub] ➞ Foreign Devils on the Silk Road ➣ Peter Hopkirk – Horse-zine.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Foreign Devils on the Silk Road

  1. says:

    Murder That was the diagnosis of the famed German archaeologist Albert Von Le Coq upon discovering the remains of a Buddhist monk wrapped in blood stained robes at the ancient west Chinese site of Karakhoja And this unfortunate monk wasn t alone, as a nearby room housed over a hundred of his friends stacked like cord wood and bearing horrifying wounds How did this massacre happen and why Was it a government power play Religious persecution Perhaps a barbarian raid A consistent theme in archaeology is uncertainty even the experts will never know the whole story and may never even find clues beyond the initial discovery Whatever drama or revelation is turned up beneath centuries of sand is certain to form an incomplete tale Who were these monks and why were they slaughtered We have no narrator to fill in the gaps.And so Foreign Devils on the Silk Road, as an account of several archaeological expeditions, tells not one timeless story but bits and pieces of a hundred Of a fortress defenders desperate final charge Of trade towns that fade away due to a dried up tributary or far off revolution Of persecuted religions on the run Of centuries of artwork plastered one fresco on top of another And layered like a patina on top of these ancient stories are the stories of the people that went in search of this lost history Of one adventurer s perilous trek across a desert Of the ultimate German archaeological odd couple Of a cavalier Frenchman with a brilliant linguistic mind Of an adventurous pair of sister nuns on a humanitarian mission and of an enterprising local con man who scammed one educated archaeologist after another Foreign Devils on the Silk Road kept me turning pages with its, clean, easy style and consistent revelations But than that it opened up two new worlds the world that was lost for so long to history and the world of those that did the finding.


  2. says:

    This is a good short work on the history of archaeology around the vast desert in far western China It inspired me to travel in Xinjiang, Gansu and Tibet, areas I will never regret visiting The main links in the region were intercontinental trade, Han dynasty military outposts and Buddhist pilgrimage routes to India The author Peter Hopkirk was a journalist and popular historian of the British and Russian empires, and the 19th century exploration of Central Asia In this story the Great Game was played not for political influence, but in competition to procure or steal ancient artifacts for display in the museums of Europe.Hopkirk begins with a description of the remote geography and punishing climate of the Taklamakan desert, ringed by the Tianshan, Hindu Kush and Himalaya mountains Chinese monks Faxian and Xuanzang went to India in 400 and 600 AD, returning with texts and establishing temples Early western explorers include Sven Hedin, famous Swedish geographer and later Nazi sympathizer British archaeologist Aurel Stein excavated abandoned oasis cities along the silk road routes, and bought or bribed art and manuscripts from temple monasteries French, Germans and Japanese joined the hunt, with similar discovery and theft.Hopkirk does a reasonable job criticizing the nascent archaeological techniques of the era, and the morality of carting off cultural heritage to distant lands He also notes other threats that damaged or destroyed cave temples and ancient sites, such as iconoclasm, earthquakes, war and politics, weather and even agriculture The Buddhist manuscripts of Mogao, including the world s oldest printed book, now reside in the British Museum in London Priceless frescoes chiselled from the walls of Bezeklik were destroyed in the Allied bombing of Berlin The book is concise but offers a great deal of information, written in a readable style.


  3. says:

    Foreign Devils on the Silk Road tells the story of several archaeologists Aurel Stein, Paul Pelliot, Klementz, von Le Coq and Langdon Warner to name a few who travelled across the barren lands of the Taklamakan desert in the early 20th Century, on a quest to search for remains of Asian ancient civilizations.To say search for remains might be a bit of a euphemism because what these people did was plain pillaging They took away whatever stuccos, paintings, figurines, scrolls and other stuff they managed to find.In typical Peter Hopkirk fashion, the book is written in a easy to follow and straightforward manner Yet it s the way Hopkirk devises a storyline that reads like a spies novel which makes each one of his books so compelling To me, this one is no exception But readers beware , this is only a 250 pages book It does not intent to be a authoritative work on the subject, hence some chapters are not all the meaty what one would like expect them to be However, this is solved by a selected bibliography related to each devil so that the reader can delve on those books to find out .As a conclusion, Peter Hopkirk points out how all these men are now long forgotten In contrast to how other men of science have been treated by the general public, these men seem to have fallen in a pit of oblivion in historical terms General public fail to recognize the names of Aurel Stein, Sven Hedin or Paul Pelliot and what they achieved Maybe it is because all of them believed that the end justifies the means and in doing so, after sacking archaeological treasures from other countries, they became outcasts of a sort in the scientific community.Highly recommended book at any rate.


  4. says:

    TR Foreign Devils on the Sil RoadTR The Great Game The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia TR Trespassers on the Roof of the World The Secret Exploration of Tibet


  5. says:

    Peter Hopkirk s books on central Asia have two virtues that are not often found together they are learned, thoroughly researched works that wrap their scholarship in anecdote and conflict Foreign Devils takes the author in the steps of a handful of sturdy explorers and antiquarians who, between about 1890 and 1940, ventured into the Taklamakan, Lop Nor and Gobi deserts in search of evidence of the civilisations which once flourished there and are now buried beneath the sand Literally thousands of artefacts were discovered by these intrepid individuals and mostly removed to museums in the west, notably but not exclusively to London, St Petersburg and Berlin The stories of the extreme hardships that accompanied these expeditions are gripping, often awe inducing But Hopkirk doesn t neglect the moral issues the vast majority of the items removed belong spiritually at least to China The question is had China been left to its own devices would these items have been recovered for the pleasure and education of later generations, or were the explorers saving them from degenerating to dust, never to be seen In short, were the Foreign Devils saviours or criminals Even if the reader comes down, as Hopkirk seems to himself, on the side of the former, there remain other serious issues the British Museum, which displays a mere fragment of its huge collection, comes in for particular opprobrium This is than just a vicarious adventure story with the romance of the Silk Road that drew Marco Polo and so many questing travellers at an end, the reader will be left with much food for thought.


  6. says:

    During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, until the 1920s, several European and American explorers searched western China for artifacts associated with the silk road, which was a collection of trails connecting China with the Middle East and India The significance of this area is that it preserved writing and artifacts of a variety of religions, principally Buddhism but also Nestorian Christians and Manicheasm, whose early history has not survived elsewhere The area they searched is near the border of China meets the borders of India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakstan This locality is surrounded by the Kunlun Mountains to the south which separate it from the Tibetan plateau, the KarakKarakoram Range to the southwest, the Tien Shan mountains to the west and north, and the Gobi Desert to the east In between these mountains is the Takla Makan Desert, an extremely dry area much so than the Gobi, apparently Running down from the mountains are rivers, fed by glaciers During roughly 300 to 1000 AD, there were a number of cities, benefiting from the trade along the Silk Road in oases along these rivers, in areas now covered by sand There are still oases in the area, but they have shifted generally closer to the mountains as the glacial melt as slowly subsided Further, they prosperity of the area varied in direct proportion to the ability or interest of the Chinese in policing and protecting the Silk Road Finally, the arrival of the Muslim religion in the area proved to be a damper to trade As a consequence of these factors, cities were gradually abandoned and covered with sand The dry environment preserved scrolls and other artifacts that would not otherwise survived.The most important explorers were the Swedish Sven Hedin, the British subject of Hungarian descent Aurel Stein, the German Albert von Le Coq he was descended from French Hugeunots who settled in Germany, hence the French name , Paul Pelliot of France, the agents of the Japanese Count Kozui Otani, and the American Langdon Warner The Russians, who were closest to the area, made a smaller impression in archaeology Sven Hedin was primarily interested in geographical exploration, and so made fewer archaeological collections However, Hedin was the first western explorer to cross the Takla Makan desert, showing others that it could be done Stein was probably the best archaeologist of the lot, with an understanding of stratigraphy One of the interesting things the explorers found was evidence of the combining of western, Indian and Chinese influences in the Buddhist art preserved in abandoned monesteries in the area The western influence is apparently due indirectly to Alexander the Great, whose successors established kingdoms in what is now Afghanistan Buddhism, although originally an Indian religion, reached China via the Silk Road, and picked up these western artisitic influences from what is now Afghanistan The collections of these explorers became controversial The Germans especially had a tendency to hack out frescos from abandoned monasteries and bring them back to Berlin a number were destroyed by American bombing during the Second World War Stein s collection of Buddhist manuscripts, resulting from giving a self appointed caretaker a contribution for restoring an ancient site, is also contraversial By the middle of the 1920s Chinese opinion was sufficiently hostile that further western exploration and taking the stuff back was abandoned.The book was first published in 1980.


  7. says:

    Hopkirk s book focuses primarily on the men who travelled the Silk Road in search of ancient treasures Clearly I was born the wrong sex, in the wrong time while a lot of these men may be considered treasure hunting rogues, many of them were highly intelligent, gifted, and brave to have completed these expeditions and excavations, and they have my awe and respect Their stories and rivalries were very interesting to read.The other theme of the book touches on the status of these lost treasures Many pieces were lost before the foreign devils even found them, and others were destroyed during the Word Wars Others were moved only to remain in storage to this day Despite some of the sad demises of men like Hedin, Stein, and von Le Coq, I find the avoidable losses of these lost treasures most depressing.The positive I ve taken from this book is my desire to learn and the addition the other books and journals I ve added to my reading list on this topic.


  8. says:

    Diverting account of various European explorers archaeologists who explored or as far as the Chinese are concerned raided the deserts of Central Asia for artefacts from various oasis based lost cities trading posts dotted along the Silk Road which started at Xian dating from when an outward looking Chinese empire traded with the West and India, but which later became covered in sand as the irrigation systems which created the oases were left to decay.


  9. says:

    A delightful Indiana Jones like account of the exploration of the Taklamakan desert in what is now the Xinjiang province of Eastern China This was and probably still is truly the last frontier


  10. says:

    This is one hell of a book The adventures described herein are mind bogglingly awe inspiring, while the savagery is heart breaking The beginning of the book gives a very odd perspective which is not duplicated in the body of the text that is, I was expecting a mildly moralistic tale against the deprivations and thievery of the foreign devils the Europeans and, in the case of Langdon Warner, American who saved the archaeological heritage of the Silk Road The Chinese consider these people Aurel Stein, Albert von le Coq, Albert Gr nwedel, Pelliot, etc to be treacherous thieves, robbing them of their heritage However, as the rest of the book makes perfectly clear, these archaeologists actually saved this heritage As a single example, on one of his expeditions, I believe it was Aurel Stein so many different people described back and forth between chapters who found something like 92 large Buddha statues under the sands of one of the lost towns, far too large to bring back When he returned seven years later, they were each of them smashed to pieces This was a typical scenario From locals who thought that the frescoes came to life at night and so the faces had to be scratched out, to military personnel lodged in the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas and causing all sorts of carnage, were it not for these brave and indomitable archaeologists, nothing would be known about the artistic heritage of the Silk Road, dating back in some cases to the 300s AD They are heroes of archaeology, yet China considers them the most villainous of Occidentals.Perhaps the most awe inspiring of the stories for myself at least, being as I am so fanatically enad of words, scripts, and languages is the discovery of the library of Tun Huang I first learnt about this maybe a decade ago, in my early teens indeed, I was so amazed by the online digitized library that I made up my mind to learn Khotanese or Sanskrit or any of the other languages in which they were written so that I might contribute two months of Sanskrit taught me that that was too much work than a 15 year old was willing to devote, but I did manage to irk the kids in my class by writing my notes in English though in the Devanagari script, so whenever they asked to copy I d hand it over and say, if you can This book is a favorite, and I am so saddened to see it end I shall desperately search out any by Peter Hopkirk or on this topic in the future.


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Foreign Devils on the Silk Road download Foreign Devils on the Silk Road, read online Foreign Devils on the Silk Road, kindle ebook Foreign Devils on the Silk Road, Foreign Devils on the Silk Road 94d75950f8b0 The Silk Road, Which Linked Imperial Rome And Distant China, Was Once The Greatest Thoroughfare On Earth Along It Travelled Precious Cargoes Of Silk, Gold And Ivory, As Well As Revolutionary New Ideas Its Oasis Towns Blossomed Into Thriving Centres Of Buddhist Art And Learning In Time It Began To Decline The Traffic Slowed, The Merchants Left And Finally Its Towns Vanished Beneath The Desert Sands To Be Forgotten For A Thousand Years But Legends Grew Up Of Lost Cities Filled With Treasures And Guarded By Demons In The Early Years Of The Last Century Foreign Explorers Began To Investigate These Legends, And Very Soon An International Race Began For The Art Treasures Of The Silk Road Huge Wall Paintings, Sculptures And Priceless Manuscripts Were Carried Away, Literally By The Ton, And Are Today Scattered Through The Museums Of A Dozen Countries Peter Hopkirk Tells The Story Of The Intrepid Men Who, At Great Personal Risk, Led These Long Range Archaeological Raids, Incurring The Undying Wrath Of The Chinese