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Course & Subject Guides

Travelers Along the Silk Roads, 10th Century to the Present @ Pitt: The Exhibit

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Archives & Special Collections

A&SC at Hillman Library

3960 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Phone: 412-648-8190


M-F: 9:00am-4:45pm



Guide Creator

This guide was created in the Spring of 2019 by Museum Studies intern, Meghan Lees, under the guidance of Slavic, European, and Global Studies Curator, Dan Pennell and Archives & Special Collections staff member Ben Rubin.

Engraving from Het gezantschap der Neêrlandtsche Oost-Indische Compagnie

Engraving from Het gezantschap der Neêrlandtsche Oost-Indische Compagnie, Johannes Nieuhof, 1670.

Nieuhof, Johannes, (1618-1672), artist and writer.  Het gezantschap der Neêrlandtsche Oost-Indische Compagnie, aan den grooten Tartarischen cham, den tegenwoordigen keizervan China : waar inde gedenkwaerdighste geschiedenissen, die onder het reizen door de Sineesche landtschappen, Quantung, Kiangsi, Nanking, Xantung en Peking, en aan het keizerlijke hof te Peking, sedert den jare 1655 tot 1657 zijn voorgevallen, op het bondigste verhandelt worden. Beneffens een naukeurige beschrijving der Sineesche steden, dorpen, regeeringh, wetenschappen, hantwercken, zeden, godsdiensten, gebouwen, drachten, schepen, bergen, gewassen, dieren, etc. en oorlogen tegen de Tarters.  t’Amsterdam : Jacob van Meurs, 1670.  University Library System -Frick Fine Arts Library-iDS754 .N67

Travelers Along the Silk Roads postcard

Ground Floor

The Ground Floor cases in Hillman Library feature a map of the Silk Road from its Eastern terminus in the Chinese city of Xian to its Western terminus in Constantinople.  They also display the late 14th century Catalan Atlas, the most detailed map of its time, showing key places along and major figures who traveled the overland route of the Silk Road.  

Detail of Marco Polo traveling east in the Catalan Atlas

Detail of Marco Polo traveling east in the Catalan Atlas, Abraham Cresques, 1977.

Cresques, Abraham ( -1387), cartographer and geographer.  Freiesleben, Hans-Christian.  Der Katalanische Atlas vom Jahre 1375 nach dem in der Biblioteque Nationale, Paris, verwahrten Original farbig wiedergegeben Mit einer Einfuhrung und Ubersetzungen von Hans-Christian Freiesleben.  Facsimile Edition.  Stuttgart: Brockhaus Komm.-Gesch. GmbH., Abt. Antiquarium, 1977.University Library System-Hillman Library -ff GA304 .C74

Second Floor

The exhibit continues on the Second Floor of Hillman Library in five thematic display cases: Horses and Dynasties: Cartography and Painting in China,10th -14th Centuries; Alexander the Great, Kublai Khan, and Marco Polo: Confluences of Power and Exchange in "Assia"; Musical Encounters in the Deserts and Mountains of Central Asia; Explorations in Turkestan: Aurel Stein and Bamiyan; and New World Exploitation and the China Trade with Europe.  

Detail of cartouche from Imperii Persici in Omnes Suas Provincias

Detail of cartouche from "Imperii Persici in Omnes Suas Provincias," Johann Baptist Homann, 1760?

Homann, Johann Baptist (1664 -1724), cartographer and geographer.Cóvens, Jean, cartographer. Mortier, Corneille, cartographer.“Imperii Persici in Omnes Suas Provincias” In Nieuwe Atlas, inhoudende de vier Gedeeltens der Waereld: waar in duydelyk aangeweesen worden de Monarchien, Keysserryken, Koningryken, Staten republyken, &c.: versameldt van de beste Autheuren.Te Amsterdam: Johannes Cóvensen Cornelis Mortier, [1760?].University Library System -Special Collections -ff G1015 .C69 1760v. 5

Social Media-Archives & Special Collections

Archives & Special Collections is featuring a series of articles written by our student staff in conjunction with our current exhibit Travelers Along the Silk Roads: 10th Century to the Present, which is currently located on the Ground Floor and the Second Floor of Hillman Library. This post was written by Demetri Ramos, a student employee in Archives & Special Collections at the Hillman Library location and a history major who is graduating this month.


Dan Pennell wishes to extend his sincerest thanks to all ULS colleagues who contributed materials, ideas, and suggestions for this exhibit.  Particular gratitude goes to the Digital Research Library, to Kari Johnson, and especially to Margaret McGill, without those whose tireless commitment and dedication the exhibit would not have been remotely possible.  Dan also wishes to thank the ULS administration; the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; and Year of PittGlobal for their support of the exhibit and of the related Silk Road film and speakers series.  

Detail of riders depicted in Kublai Khan Hunting

Detail of riders depicted in Kublai Khan Hunting 元世祖出獵圖軸, Liu Guandao,1971.

Guandao, Liu, (1258-1336), painter.  Kublai Khan Hunting 元世祖出獵圖軸.  In Masterpieces of Chinese Portrait Painting in the National Palace Museum.  Taipei, Taiwan:  National Palace Museum, [1971].University Library System -Frick Fine Arts Library -N7615 .C6 K96