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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Traveling the Silk Road

This gallery is based on a teacher workshop presented by the MFA, Boston in collaboration with the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies on the Silk Road. This overland trade route known as the Silk Road was not a literal path, but a series of relationships among many groups of people. The Chinese bought horses, precious metals and stones, ivory, and foods, while people from the Middle East and Europe bought silks, spices, ceramics, tea, and gunpowder. As they traded goods, they also transformed cultures, shaping religious beliefs, artistic styles, music and cuisine.

Learning Goals:
- In exploring this gallery, students will become familiar with the variety of religious beliefs held by people along the trade route and the exchange of cultural values along the trade route
- Students will travel east to west along the Silk Road exploring trade goods, artistic styles, and diffusion of ideas responding to questions, and comparing and contrasting objects.

Using this Resource:
Social studies teachers will be interested in the trade in goods and ideas that shaped world history. Art teachers will be interested in the methods, materials, and techniques employed in the trading countries.

The objects in this lesson are just a beginning. We encourage you to explore the Museum's online collection through this web source--or even better, to visit the Museum and walk through the physical galleries--to look for other objects that will provide further insights into the Silk Road.

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