Transportation, Boarding, Lodging, and Trade along the Early Silk Road A Preliminary Study of the Xuanquan Manuscripts

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Jidong Yang



Excavated from the ruins of a Han dynasty postal and relay station located in the Gansu Corridor, the Xuanquan manuscripts provide a precious chance to look into the daily traffic along the ancient Silk Road. After a brief introduction to the Han postal system, this paper translates and examines some of the Xuanquan documents directly related to foreigners traveling to Han China, such as passports, records of lodging and boarding, and files concerning trade disputes. The author concludes that the management of traffic and trade along the Silk Road was a business tightly controlled by the early Chinese empire.

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