Figuring Out Why I Love the Silk Road

I love belly dancing.

Anam Cara Dance Company, the troupe I'm part of

I love Oriental carpets. Kilims. Susanis.  And I love the legend of the flying carpet.

I love mehndi — henna patterns drawn on the skin.

I love Arabic script — all those swirls and curls.

I love saris.

I love spices and camel caravans and yurts and the Kyzyl Kum Desert.

I love the painted tiles of Bukhara and Samarkand and Khiva.

I love the name, “Karakoram” and the mystical image of mountains it conjures up.

But why????  Why do I have this intense love affair with the arts and culture and history of the Silk Road.  Yes, I’ve traveled to Mongolia and seen nomad people still living in yurts, riding ponies, and wearing clothes who styles go back generations.  Yes, I’ve watched Uzbek women in Bukhara weaving carpets and Kurkish women in Turkey weaving kilims.  But I’ve traveled to other parts of the world, too, and never fallen in love the way I did when I first encountered the Silk Road.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Scanner (see previous post), and the Silk Road was one of history’s greatest conduits of exchange.  So many fascinating things passed back and forth along the route.  Silks, spices, religion, knowledge, gemstones, ideas, art, and everything else imaginable.  In its era, it was the internet and UPS all wrapped up in one.

And now I assimilate those henna patterns and the patterns found on the tiles of Bukhara and the patterns of the Kurdish women’s kilims, and I make my art in honor of the Silk Road.  I name my Etsy shop after the legend I love:  Magic Carpet Dance Arts.  And I sell my art on the Silk Road of today.

Hand-painted henna motif panel skirt
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