Artifacts and Documentary References Connecting the Myanmar Area With Western and Central Asia and China Proper, From the 4th Century B.C. to the 13th Century A.D.
Myanmar served as a significant ‘hub’ in the cross-cultural transfer of objects, traditions, techniques and artistic influences that flowed from China through Central Asia, Western Asia as far as Europe (and vice versa) – both by land and maritime routes. The reasons for this were Myanmar’s geographical location, long coastline with many ports and its river access to China. As trade developed, new routes were added, increasing the flow of ideas and objects via Myanmar. Archaeological finds in Myanmar of animal- and bird-shaped beads, including a scarab, have clear origins in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Conversely, evidence of the use of a particular glazing technique that used tin oxide, which originated in Myanmar, has been found as far away as Iraq. These reciprocal exchanges can be detected in fashions and textiles, while architectural styles and techniques were also shared along the trade routes.