The Silk Road… stopping at Lucca

The beautiful walled town of Lucca is hosting another interesting exhibition until the 31st January at the Guinigi Palace.  “The Silk Road” comprises over 130 masterpieces of textile art to relate the millennial history of the relationship between East and West. A shiny silk thread, long 8 thousand km, that unites the cities of Lucca to Hangzhou in China, the historical capital of silk production and distribution. The Silk Road is an exhibition full of colour, charm and magic which makes the visitor understand the real size and importance of a common culture.

Coming from the National Chinese Silk Museum of Hangzhou and from public and private collections in Lucca, these works of art cover more than a thousand years of history, from the Tang to the Ming Dynasty, together with bibliographic and documentary support including many precious books and documents. The exhibition is divided into three sections. The first is dedicated to Lucca and its role as European capital of silk in the Middle Ages. The second is dedicated to the production of silk and its trade through China, central Asia and the Mediterranean. The third is dedicated to the manufacturing techniques typical of the Byzantine and Islamic world and their spread in Europe.

Among the most significant exhibits there are a number of clothes and textiles (shaman, brocades, gauzes, embroidery) dating from the Liao, Jin, Song and Ming periods, a group of terracotta figures representing Bactrian camels and Central Asian merchants of the Tang period, a series of paintings on silk dating from the Song and Yuan dynasty and representing Genghis Khan and the techniques of production and processing of silk, two large paintings on silk scrolls of the Ming period representing the emperor travelling, and a series of official texts describing the techniques of producing and processing silk. Also many sumptuous festive clothing for dignitaries, and a magnificent embroidered satin panel, all of the Qing Period. With regard to Central Asia, particularly outstanding are 12 ceremony garments produced in Uzbekistan in the nineteenth century with the ikat technique, characterized by extraordinary colours and designs.

Link to holiday accommodation in Lucca, right within the walls.

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