Marco Polo and his father and uncle discovered a new, more northern Silk Road to Chinese antiques when they alighted from their sailing vessel on the north east coast of the Black Sea. They walked north east and found an established east-west trading Silk Road around the north end of the Aral Sea, and from here they passed a series of mountain ranges and were generally able to fairly easily bypass most mountain routes and traverse this more northern Silk Road to Cathay, or China to us now. Their road had them walk across barren fields by a lush Aral Sea. Marco would not recognize the Aral Sea today.
Today the Aral Sea continues to shrink because of global warming and wasteful irrigation. The sea shore is littered with signs of dead sea life and relics of ships miles from the receding sea. In his day 1220 man had not yet deveolved the power to taint the earth and darken the skies: that was up as volcanic furies from the gods. As you hiked eastward your journey lifts as you hike up over the great bulk of earth around the mighty Himalaya Mountains. As you pass through that classic corridor in east Afghanistan you enter the western desert areas, and Indo European Afghan peoples changes to Mongol like peoples.
The Mongol type peoples of the Gobi Derest regions are usually controlled by the central authority in Beijing, but only warily so. This sparsely populated area of Mongol type peoples are always a worry to the central authorities, as they have alien ideas and too much open land to allow them to live free. This Silk road could never have supported the silk worm, which is a tender creature that needs a warm moist winter that does not exist at any way along the Silk road, until the final detour off to the right and down over the mighty Yangstze River.
Your Silk Road leaves Beijing and continues south, as Marco Polo would have found to his impatience. For it was just not done that a foreigner could be allowed tolive to see a silk plantation and survive to tell the tale. But not only did Marco live to see the silk plant, but he became familiar with the nurture and care of the silk worm. Temperature was vital, in event of a sudden unexpected frost this would cause the laying of thick mattresses of plants, corn stalk, wheat rice and bamboo, being put on fire as needed.
These practices are continued to this day in the moderating a sudden frost with protective smoke barriers to break cold spells. Marco would have kowtowed his deep low bow to the emperor, to ensure his approval was granted. Marco would have had members of the court accompany him, and there would have been merriment and laughter along the way. To be a part of the inner court and be a part of the playful banter was to feel part of the inner court, the classic In Set.
The life back in the Forbidden City in Beijing can experience hot desert summer but cold bitter Siberian winter winds. In his several year in Cathay, Marco learned to try to enjoy Beijing in the spring and the fall, and avoid therefore the burning Gobi desert summer, or the freezing Siberian winter. It was bliss to be able to negotiate travel time that had you visit the silk plantations in their moist warm winter. There are fabled towns in south China with Venice of the Orient names for good reason.
Here, elegant bridges loop over gentle brooks carrying many canoes laden with flowers, foods, fruits, vegetables of many colors. The warmer southern climate that is the reeal end of the Silk road is a cornucopia of splendor. Marco and his father and his uncle would likely onlyh feel agreeable about travelling north to the Forbidden City only after spring breezes were wafting north in the May breezes. Whether you see the merit in buying Chinese antiques, or if you agree with lead head Ned who buys shiny new Chinese modern with their melamine lead pots, the profit is in the action by you.
Imagine a decade from now, if you buy some Mings and things now. By then, a decade lateer some middle class Susie Wongs will be wanting to upgrade. If she Googles what happened to her great grand mothers Mings and things, and finds the new owner is - you, she will give you a call. Well, Marco, you make her pay. Ask her to take off her slipper at your door. Bow very low, deep kowtow. Ask way too much, and stay firm. Enjoy, this is your retirement golden parachute. Enjoy your moment, Marco, you looked into the future and saw that the money would flow from Chinese antiques. Enjoy your trickle down, hero.
Derek Dashwood enjoys noticing positive ways we progress, the combining of science into the humanities to measure life at