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Hidden Stories: Books Along the Silk Roads



Prayer Book (Dala'il Al-Khayrat), India, Probably Kashmir, November 1818 CE / Muharram 1233 AH, Lacquer binding; opaque watercolour, ink, and gold on paper, AKM278

This website is a digital companion and in-depth complement to Hidden Stories: Books Along the Silk Roads, on display at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto from October 9, 2021 to February 27, 2022. Take a virtual walk through the gallery, investigate the objects in the exhibition, watch videos about the objects, or listen to a podcast about the exhibition.

From antiquity to the Middle Ages and beyond, the Silk Roads were trade routes across land and sea that linked Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Along the Silk Roads, people travelled:  merchants and scholars and pilgrims, knowledge-seekers and diplomats and spies.  Goods travelled:  silk, gold, ivory, porcelain, paper, furs, and amber.  Stories, ideas, and skills travelled. 

And books travelled, too.

 Step in to learn more about books along the Silk Roads and their hidden stories.

There are many paths into this digital exhibit.

The first begins where the books are:  our map of the Silk Roads, which situates our books in time and space.

The second is our guided tour, shaped like reading a book. Begin with the closed book. Turn to its covers. Then open the book and examine its shape. Turn the pages: What are they made of? What kind of writing do you encounter? What writing technologies were used to produce the text? Finally, dive into the book and read its stories.

The third begins with your curiosity. Are you a student? A teacher? A researcher? A curious passer-by? To learn more about books along the Silk Roads, take a look at our resources: images, videos, articles and books for specialists and nonspecialists alike, and sample assignments.