It has become very trendy to bash China.
Many of us take it for granted that China is a country of villains only able to copy or to counterfeit Occidental products. Are we right? Not exactly. We should not look down at a country which invented the wheel, the fireworks and which has always mastered the secrets of silk processing.
Though we would travel by bus, train and airplane, we could not pretend exploring in a month the whole Silk Road – which extends some 4000 miles long from Europe to Beijing.
Actually, the term “Silk Road” is totally wrong. Silk roadS would be more appropriate as we are talking of a network of routes.
We also all know that Marco Polo was not the first one to trade with China. Way before he did, Central Europe tribes such as the Pazyrik nomads (part of the Scythians culture) did. This antique piece (3BC) – exhibited in the St Petersburg museum – shows one of them wearing……. a polka dot scarf. Will leave any scarf lover speechless!
The trip I signed up for brought us to Beijing and among other places to Chengdu, then Lanzhou and finally Kashgar, near the Afghan border (Northern Silk Road).
This trip will remain one of the most memorable and fascinating ones I have made (so far) in my life: call it a life time trip.
During this trip I fell right away under the charm of both the people (always nice, friendly, and warm) and of monuments (breathtaking). I enjoyed the exquisite food. And, above all, I was very much impressed by the delicacy of local art crafts. In Kashgar, I bought some amazing pieces of silk fabric (and I found inspiration about how to tie a silk scarf into a belt). Did Marco Polo buy similar ones six centuries ago? I like to think so.
I finally came back home with the idea that each country has its own assets: my native country (France) is the country of romance, good food and art de vivre. My adoptive country (USA) is the country where dreams can come true. And China is the cradle of silk… Even Hermès would acknowledge. Things have to be said sometimes…
Below are some photos taken in or near Kasghar that I feel like sharing with you. Enjoy!
Now tell me : can you bash China when it comes to (high quality) silk scarves?