13 Jul

 I haven’t heard back from Richard, so I’m thinking about stealing his idea for the Silk-Road project and going off into the adventure on my (lonesome) own. I aim for it to be a relatively monolithic project, choosing several cities or grand areas along the Silk Road, researching each, and creating a perfume and an incense for each one. So far, I know Chang’an (called Xi’an today) China and Alexandria Egypt, or maybe Istanbul (Constantinople) Turkey may be two of the cities I choose. I’ll have to, of course, research the aromatic/olfactory history of each city/area I cover. Other areas might include the Taklamakan Desert, Kashgar, the Tian Shan mountains, Turpan, Talgar and Almaty (in what is now southeast Kazakhstan), the Alai Valley, Termez (in modern Uzbekistan), Balkh (Afghanistan), Kokand in the Fergana Valley (in present-day eastern Uzbekistan), the Karakum Desert, Merv (Turkmenistan), the Karakoram Mountains/the Karakoram Highway, the Hindu Kush mountains, Mesopotamia, the northern tip of the Syrian Desert, the Levant, Anatolia, Herat through Susa to Charax Spasinu at the head of the Persian Gulf and across to Petra and on to Alexandria.
 From Wikipedia: “A route for caravans, the northern Silk Road brought to China many goods such as “dates, saffron powder and pistachio nuts from Persia; frankincense, aloes and myrrh from Somalia; sandalwood from India; glass bottles from Egypt, and other expensive and desirable goods from other parts of the world.” In exchange, the caravans sent back bolts of silk brocade, lacquer ware and porcelain. Another branch of the northern route turned northwest past the Aral Sea and north of the Caspian Sea, and on to the Black Sea…Extending 4,000 miles (6,500 km), the routes enabled traders to transport goods, slaves and luxuries such as silk, satin, hemp and other fine fabrics, musk, other perfumes, spices, medicines, jewels, glassware and even rhubarb, as well as serving as a conduit for the spread of knowledge, ideas, cultures, zoological specimens and some non indigenous disease conditions between Ancient China, Ancient India (Indus valley, now Pakistan), Asia Minor and the Mediterranean…
 “Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations of China, India, Egypt, Persia, Arabia, and Rome, and in several respects helped lay the foundations for the modern world. Although the term the Silk Road implies a continuous journey, very few who traveled the route traversed it from end to end. For the most part, goods were transported by a series of agents on varying routes and were traded in the bustling markets of the oasis towns.” Turns out, I may have my #1 fan, John Reasinger, help me with the gargantuan project. I know him to be perfect as a researcher and conceptualist; I believe he studied in college for a time ancient mythology, like Greek gods, etc. He can talk circles around me about Greek gods; he certainly knows a fair amount, where I know next to nothing. He’ll be a perfect comrade in our quest to discover something of the essence of the Silk Road.


3 Responses to “071311”

  1. Sun July 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Great post–love the Silk Road scents idea and look forward to being able to take that olfactory journey with you someday. We just put in our order for Helios, Selene, and Ares and look forward to smelling better very soon ; ]

  2. Sun July 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    P.S., a few years back, I had the chance to see Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, which does a simialar thing musically, at Carnegie Hall, and it was one of the most perfect and memorable shows I’ve seen. Maybe there’s some interesting inspiration for you in the work they’ve done.

    • Adam Gottschalk July 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

      I’ve got the Silk-Road Journeys recording saved for later on Emusic. Thanks for the tip. You should be receiving the solids by Monday latest.

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