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China Scenic - - Covers -

ur fi­nal cover is a re­con­struc­tion il­lus­tra­tion of the “Nan­hai No. 1”, a mer­chant ship once sailed along the Mar­itime Silk Road dur­ing the South­ern Song Dy­nasty (1127–1279), and ended up ly­ing at the sea bot­tom til 1987, when its wreck was found. It is by far the largest Song ves­sel to be dis­cov­ered, and the as­ton­ish­ing relics in its cargo, nearly 80,000 pieces of porce­lain ware and gold and sil­ver ar­ti­facts, has earned it the ti­tle “Sea-based Dun­huang“, the city full of his­tory and leg­ends on the Silk Road. Ever since the pro­posal of “Belt and Road“Ini­tia­tive, the two Silk Roads, one travers­ing across the Eura­sia via to­day’s Xin­jiang, and the other link­ing coun­tries in other con­ti­nents with China through the vast oceans, have been fre­quently dis­cussed, stud­ied and even com­pared. It seems that the for­mer has mo­nop­o­lized all the glo­ries— ev­ery icon comes to one’s mind while the term “Silk Road“is men­tioned, like del­i­cate silk tex­tiles trans­ported by camels, lost city ru­ins under sands, and mar­velous grottoes ex­ca­vated on cliffs, is re­lated to the renowned, tra­di­tional route known by peo­ple; while the lat­ter, given cen­turies of ban on sea nav­i­ga­tion dur­ing the Ming and Qing dy­nas­ties, be­came ob­scure and for­got­ton. Ac­tu­ally, just like the “Belt and Road“Ini­tia­tive has ex­tended the orig­i­nal range of the Silk Roads, both overland and ocean-go­ing, to­day the con­cept “Silk Road“has also been ex­panded—it is a spirit of ex­plo­ration, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and open­ness. As more and more ship­wrecks like the “Nan­hai No. 1“have been dis­cov­ered, peo­ple have re­al­ized that the Mar­itime Silk Road is never in­fe­rior to, his­tor­i­cally, cul­tur­ally or aca­dem­i­cally, the tra­di­tional one. The other cover op­tions are: No. 1: a fresco in Xin­jiang’s Kyzyl Grottoes de­picts a bod­hisattva per­form­ing “hold­ing ar­ti­cle dance“; No. 2: camels, once the most im­por­tant trasporta­tion method along the Silk Road; No. 3: the Danxia land­scape of Zhangye, Gansu; No. 4 : the ru­ins of the an­cient king­dom of Gaochang on the Silk Road; No. 5 & 6: divers ex­am­ing scat­tered relics of sunken ships along the Mar­itime Silk Road; No. 7: the map of China’s south­east­ern coast­line drawn by an Ital­ian; No. 8: a Song Dy­nasty bronze mir­ror with en­graved pat­tern of a ship; No. 9: a fresco de­picts Tang Dy­nasty Em­press Wu Ze­tian on a dragon boat; No. 10: an un­earthed yel­low glaze bot­tle that gives us a clue how the Hux­uan dance from West­ern Re­gions was pe­formed.

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