Foreign Devils on the Silk Road – Peter Hopkirk

Peter Hopkirk’s succinct account of the early 20th century Western expeditions to, explorations in and archaeological exploitation of the cities of the Silk Road in Chinese Central Asia – present day Xinjiang – long lost under the sands of the Taklamakan, Lop and Gobi deserts, an area that saw the flourishing of an Indo-Chinese Buddhist culture, with sculptures, statues, superbly illustrated manuscripts and frescoes adorning monastery walls, fortresses made from mud and caves hewn from the foothills of the Tien Shan mountains.

Reading Foreign Devils on the Silk Road makes me want to visit the region again, to pay better informed visits to the places we whizzed through on 2008’s Central Asia Overland tour…. in particular Kuqa County.

Buddha temple ruins - Subashi ancient city
Buddha temple ruins – Subashi ancient city

I’d also love to retrace the footsteps of British Empire army pundits and Central Asian traders travelling across the mountains from Srinagar to Leh and onwards to Yarkand, and, closer to home, to visit the Central Asian galleries at the British Museum (and The Stein Collection at the V & A) , and the Musée Guimet in Paris, home to Aurel Stein‘s and Paul Pelliot’s collections respectively.

A birthday present from Phil, read on a rainy Boxing Day at Forty Acres.

And I find today (04 Jan 2105) that Peter Hopkirk died in 2014.

Publisher page: Foreign Devils on the Silk Road – Peter Hopkirk