September 29, 2008 |
Last year was the octocentenary of the 13th century Persian poet Rumi, whose nondenominational messages of tolerance and spiritual love resonate among newly enlightened folk in the West. This year is the 10th anniversary of ever-curious cellist Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, whose musical highway from China to the Mediterranean runs right through Persia (now Iran).
December 24, 2007 |
Baron Ferdinand von Richthofen, the German historian and geographer, coined the expression "Silk Road" 130 years ago to designate the well-worn path between China and the West via Damascus. He chose silk as symbolic of the exotic and highly prized goods China allowed to flow from its centers to barbarian lands. Today, no single commodity could claim exclusive naming rights.
June 25, 1992 |
People in striped robes sit under aspen trees, drinking tea dosed with black pepper and eating shish kebab sprinkled with curry-type spices. But they don't eat curries; they tend to flavor stew in the Persian fashion, with fruit instead of spices. They also eat steamed dumplings, lamb with noodles and other spicy dishes from western China--those remote western provinces that Chinese regional cookbooks ignore.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2003 |
Sometimes tradition is just not enough. Or so Koji Wada has learned. Wada, the owner of Kasuri Dyeworks in downtown Berkeley, is spending this week closing his shop, unrolling, rerolling and packing the bolts of ornate fabrics that have been his business for more than 30 years. The soft plumes of silk suspended in Wada's shop are used to make kimonos, the traditional dress of Japanese men and women. Decades ago, Japanese men began abandoning kimonos for Western dress.
October 20, 2001 |
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is talking about Central Asia while, thousands of miles away, the United States is bombing it. For years, Ma has been planning a project that's now come to fruition: an East-meets-West musical overview of the cultures and countries linked by the network of trading routes known as the Silk Road. Tonight, an international gathering of 13 musicians--dubbed the Silk Road Ensemble--will join Ma in Washington for the first concert of its American tour.
November 13, 1990 |
The Chinese are already calling it "the New Eurasian Continental Bridge" or "the Iron-Silk Road." The grandiose titles apply to a new railway link that will enable travelers and trade to follow the footsteps of Marco Polo with greater ease than ever before. Trains linking China's eastern seaboard with Western Europe are due to start rolling on the 6,750-mile route in July, 1992.
September 10, 1995 |
If the Silk Road traders of 2,000 years ago were to guide their camel caravans into the bustling new bazaars here, it wouldn't take them long to cut a deal. The Chinese stereos, Korean televisions and Japanese cameras might baffle them, but they wouldn't miss a beat haggling over Oriental carpets, Iranian fruit and Indian sandals.
November 13, 1994 |
The music began as we stepped off our bus in the adobe village of Wupu in northwestern China. Barely perceptible at first, a seductive whine gathered force as it welled up in the throats of middle-aged men and reverberated from their long-necked stringed instruments and sheep-skin tambourines. Next came the dancers--a troupe of little girls, 6 or 8 years old, with winsome smiles, velvety brown eyes and shiny pigtails.
December 2, 2007 |
Kashgar, China After 36 hours, three flights and two sleeping pills, I arrived in the western Chinese city of Kashgar. It was 10 p.m., and the sun was only starting to set when I disembarked on the runway, collected my bags from the airport's single conveyor belt and boarded a barely functioning minibus for town.