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Traveling the Silk Road - Exhibit Images

Chinese Silks. During the Tang dynasty (618–906 A.D.), Chinese silks were prized throughout Asia for their vibrant colors and incredible patterns. Pictured here are modern reproductions of Tang-era silksm, which were preserved in storerooms by the Japanese royal family. © AMNH/D. Finnin

Peacock Feather. The night markets of Turfan offered many exotic goods, ranging from spices to gold, rubies, and leopard skins. Peacock feathers were especially highly prized and used for military ornamentation. © AMNH/D. Finnin

AMNH’s Third Central Asiatic Expedition. The hand-colored lantern slide of a camel caravan was taken by a member of the American Museum of Natural History’s third Central Asiatic expedition in 1925. Adapted to the harsh desert conditions of central Asia and the Middle East, camels made ideal pack animals for travel along the Silk Road. © AMNH/ James Shackelford

Chinese Musical Interactive. Children and adults electronically re-create the sounds of traditional Chinese instruments, such as a moon lute, a 4-string pipa, a drum, and cymbals, in this musical interactive in the Xi’an section of the exhibition. © AMNH/D. Finnin

Working Astrolabe. Visitors use a working model of an ancient Islamic astrolabe to determine the hour by marking the position of “stars” embedded in the surrounding exhibit.  © AMNH/D. Finnin

Interactive Silk Road Map. The electronic tabletop map in the Samarkand section of the exhibition invites visitors to discover the links among cultures, technology, and geography along the Silk Road. Press a button and new information will be projected across the map, revealing surprising connections! © AMNH/D. Finnin

Camel Caravan. Visitors come face-to-face with three life-size camel models decked out in full caravan regalia and loaded with trade goods. They are surrounded by a 120-foot-long mural depicting a landscape of sand dunes. © AMNH/D. Finnin

Turfan Night Market. The lush Turfan section of the exhibition transports visitors to a re-created night market in this desert city overflowing with all the goods — sapphires, silks, jades and rubies, leopard furs and peacock feathers, and fruits and spices that would have captivated travelers over a thousand years ago. © AMNH/R. Mickens

Exhibition Entrance. Traveling the Silk Road, visitors come face-to-face with three life-size camel models decked out in full caravan regalia and loaded with trade goods. © AMNH/R. Mickens

Arab Dhow. Visitors can walk through a model of a 71-foot long Arab sailing ship, called a dhow, split in half to reveal a cargo of ceramics and elaborate metalwork. © AMNH/R. Mickens