The Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran, Iran has established the Iranian Research Center on the Silk Roads. The Center is a scientific and academic institution, and a unique academic research center in Iran to focus on the Silk Roads.
At the initiative of UNESCO and with the support of its former Director General, Mr Federico Mayor (1987-1999), the International Institute for the Study of Nomadic Civilizations was established by an agreement concluded on 16 September 1998 between the governments of Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Mongolia and Turkey.
The Kazakh Research Institute of Culture (KazRIC), established November 10th, 1934, was one of the first scientific institutions in Kazakhstan. Originally, it united several scientific and educational organizations: the Kazakh Central Archive, the Regional Museum, the Regional Bureau and the State Library.
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.
In Nepalese Tarai, the area where the Buddha was born and grew up, several excavations were launched in the late nineteenth century. They have revealed sand stone pillars and stupas which were erected by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. The distribution of the pillars and stupas indicates that the sites where they were discovered – Lumbini, Kapilavastu, Mahavana, Kshemavati, Shobhavati and Ramagrama – were connected to the North Indian Silk Route.
Excavations in Panjikent in Tajikistan have revealed mural paintings of particular significance for the history of literature. These works by Sogdian painters, which range from the 6th to the 8th century AD, illustrate fables, epics and folk tales from different origins along the Silk Roads. The literary works represented on the walls include for instance fables by Aesop, stories from the Indian Panchatantra and the tale of the seven exploits of the Persian warrior Rustam.
From the 9th to the 15th century AD, Quanzhou was China’s major seaport for international trade. China entertained extensive relations with the Muslim world, and many Islamic monuments can still be found in Quanzhou. Among the Arabic and Persian inscriptions which were excavated in the city, 28 “nisbâs” (adjectives indicating a person’s place of origin or ancestry) were found.
Archaeological findings suggest that several sites on the Malay Peninsula were trading centres already from prehistoric times. The earliest trading centres, situated both on the East and West coast, were mainly collecting centres from where local products were sold. They probably traded with Mainland Southeast Asia.
The Malaysian region acted as a land bridge between the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea, linking mainland Southeast Asia with the rest of the islands. Archaeological data records prehistoric trade before and after the Pleistocene era. During this period coastal prehistoric sites developed into ports of trade and exchange, both intra-regionally as well as with mainland Southeast China. The abundant supply of minerals, such as tin and gold on the Peninsula, led to early settlements, including Hinduized Indonesian settlers, and to extended trading relations.
The art of healing was very important in Buddhism, since the Buddha himself emphasized that health is among the most precious goods a person can possess. Hospitals were established in the Sri Lankan capital Anuradhapura from the 4th century BC onwards, and several Sri Lankan kings had medical knowledge. A large number of hospitals for different diseases were subsequently set up in the country, which were used both by the people and by Buddhist monks.