The road to Bryant University through next Wednesday leads to the Silk Road in China.
Not only will it take you to a culturally different place, but back in time.
For just the next couple of days, you can be transported back 1,500 years.
Pretend you’re a merchant from the Middle East, South Asia, or Europe, bringing goods along the Silk Road to trade with the Chinese. The first civilization you’ll come across is the town of Dunhuang.
Hong Yang heads up the International Affairs Department at Bryant. He talks about the Silk Road as a “melting pot between East and West. Chinese culture, Indian culture, you see European culture, you see Middle East, all mixed in that one location.”
Back then, for 1,000 years, travelers carved caves, as places of worship or meditation, in the cliffs along the merchant route.
“The Silk Road was not only a trading route but also a road for an exchange of ideas, exchange of technology, and then exchange of religions,” Yang said.
A replica, complete with life size digital photography of a cave from Mogao, is at Bryant for your experience. The art tells a story, like of the Buddhists from India.
“Taoism as a religion was born and grown in China. So, in the cave, you will see Taoism and Buddhism actually mingled together,” said Yang. “We can see the integration of ideas and religions in the past.”
While the replica of the cave gives you a good sense of what it’s like to be in one, you can take a virtual reality tour of one of the real ones, too.
Yuhao Yang, who goes by the name Luke, as it’s easier for people who speak English to pronounce, is an interpreter for those from China on hand for the event. The virtual reality goggles really make the experience.
“With the aid of modern technology, it helps people better understand the whole concept of Dunhuang, the whole art of it, and the whole history behind it,” he said. “People all the way back, they knew the importance about diversity and inclusion. They actually inspired us to do the same.”
There are also daily talks, ranging from contemporary trade with China to the high resolution photographic digitization of the cave.
It’s opened 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 6 at the Bello Center, Bryant University in Smithfield.
For registration and ticket information, click here.