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At the Library: Travel the Silk Road

By Staff | Feb 18, 2015

Captiva Memorial Library’s Afternoon Sojourns, a series of artist talks, music, independent and foreign films, lectures, author presentations and book signings are a hit on Captiva. (Open to the public, free of charge, seating subject to room capacity – no reserve seating).

Support for Captiva Memorial Library’s Afternoon Sojourns is provided by the Lee County Library System, the Captiva Memorial Library Board and the Captiva Civic Association. WEDNESDAY Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.

“Silk Road Journeys”:

author Maria Drumm

Through her photographs and personal experiences, Maria Drumm will guide the audience on a visual exploration of not only the caravan routes but also the maritime route of the “Silk Road” passing around the straits of Malacca, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Maria is an attorney, mother of six and grandmother of nine. After a 20-year career in law, she retired and taught International Trade and Cross-Cultural Communication at Anhui University of Trade and Economics in Bengbu, China, from 2002-2005. She has also taught spring semesters in 2012 and 2013 in Tiruchirappalli, India. Her awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities for the U.S. government and the coveted Yellow Mountain Award for excellence in teaching from the Chinese government. Maria Drumm has many

international awards for her photography. She is already working on her next book: a photographic journey across Turkey, Ethiopia and Iran.

“Silk Road Journeys – a Photo Essay of Three Remarkable Adventures Covering Thousands of Miles”

by Maria Drumm

“Open the book and begin a journey into the ancient countries of Sogdiana (now part of Uzbekistan), Burma (now Myanmar), and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), across China and the Taklamakan desert and into the rock-cut caves of India. Through her photographs and personal experiences, Maria Drumm guides the reader on a visual exploration of not only the caravan routes but also the maritime route of the “Silk Road” passing around the straits of Malacca, Cambodia and Vietnam. Images taken from 2006 to 2013 reflect the ancient heritage of these travels.

The reader will explore many of the places visited by Marco Polo in the 13th century and understand his fear of being shipwrecked or lost in the desertthe Silk Road is not a road but a network of trade routes that went from Xi’an to Samarkand; Alexandria to Mumbai; Sri Lanka to Rangoon, Cambodia and Vietnam. Although the original explorers were seeking allies for the Chinese emperor, traders in the western territories were soon enticed by profits that could be made by selling China’s silk products. The first routes were developed around 120 B.C. and morphed over 1,400 years into a living organism that changed belief patterns, moved cultures and opened minds to new ideas in music, art, science and religion.

Dazzling photographs tell the story as you travel with the merchant crossing some of the world’s highest mountains to make the trek from present-day Kyrgyzstan across the Turugart Pass to the great staging cities of Kashgar and Dunhuang. In addition to silk, products such as gold, pepper and even ostrich eggs were introduced to new markets by these ancient peddlers. Experience the monk’s pilgrimage from India to China, carrying the sacred sutras of Buddhism and his passion to spread Buddha’s philosophy. Fraught with danger, the monk braved not only the extreme temperatures of the desert and the threat of wild animals in the mountains, but also bandits that made their living by stealing from such travelers.

By the 6th century the land routes had become even more treacherous because of political turmoil and the maritime Silk Road routes developed and thrived. On this third journey, the author entices the reader aboard a dhow departing Alexandria, Egypt, sailing southward on the Nile. Reaching the destination, traders in antiquity would then transport their cargo overland to port cities such as Petra in present-day Jordan.

Finally, the author asks, “What is the lesson we learn from this story of commerce, adventure and faith?”

This is not a scholarly effort. It is a picture book that awakens the reader to the history of a part of the world that many will never see.

Ms. Drumm said: “I have searched for such a book and have been unable to find one, so here it is. Humbly and gratefully I share this wonderful world I have been privileged to photograph for the last several years.”

‘Silk Road Journeys’ has been written for people interested in history, architecture, culture and travel who enjoy a visual experience. Teachers can also use this book to make the stories of Central Asia, China and India come alive. The information about this part of the world is more important than ever today.” *

To preview “Silk Road Journeys – a Photo Essay of Three Remarkable Adventures Covering Thousands of Miles”: www.blurb.com/b/5688274-silk-road-journeys

-Senior Librarian Ann Bradley is branch manager Captiva Memorial Library