Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1984 - History - 252 pages
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The Silk Road, which linked imperial Rome and distant China, was once the greatest thoroughfare on earth. Along it traveled precious cargoes of silk, gold and ivory, as well as revolutionary new ideas. Its oasis towns blossomed into thriving centers 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; however, 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.


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User Review  - rnsulentic - LibraryThing

Wonderful exploration of the first Western explorers of the 'Silk Road', and how they fit into the 'The Great Game' in Central Asia in the last decades of the 19th century and the first of the 20th. Read full review

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User Review  - SAtrium15 - LibraryThing

The scholarship needed for the many cool observations of crossing paths of adventurers before modern roads and communications led to a TRUE STORY of the difficulties of an Indiana Jones tale. The ... Read full review


The Rise and Fall of the Silk Road
Lost Cities of the Taklamakan
The Great Manuscript Race
Sven Hedin the Pathfinder
Aurel Stein TreasureSeeker Extraordinary
Stein Strikes it Rich
The Unmasking of a Forger
The Race Begins in Earnest
Secrets of a Chinese Rubbish Dump
Tunhuang the Hidden Library
Pelliotthe Gentle Art of Making Enemies
Spies Along the Silk Road
Langdon Warner Attempts the Unthinkable
The Chinese Slam the Door
Bibliography of Principal Sources

Von Le Coq Spins a Coin
The Finest Paintings in Turkestan

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About the author (1984)

For five years Chief Reporter of the London Times, Peter Hopkirk now specializes in Middle Eastern and Asiatic affairs, He has traveled widely throughout the world during his twenty-seven years as a reporter and foreign correspondent.

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