Cultural Crossings: Exchanges Beyond the Silk Road is QAIC’s flagship program that aims to celebrate the transmission of culture along the Silk Road routes and highlight the living cultural traditions that continue to be expressed around the world today.
The Arabian Gulf sits at the crossroads of land and maritime trade routes, dating to the earliest iterations of the infamous Silk Road over 2,000 years ago. Many goods—textiles, precious minerals, teas, and perfumes, to name a few—moved along this network of trade routes. But more than just the physical materials, the networks facilitated the movement of people, who brought with them their ideas, religion, and numerous other aspects of culture.
Music is a universal aspect of culture that societies around the globe share. It has long played a vital role in social activities, religion, and people’s daily lives. Instruments and the musicians that played them spread beyond their regions of origin and became incorporated into the local traditions of the lands they traveled through. They also absorbed aspects of the local traditions as well, leading to the creation of new musical styles and forms. Begin your own journey as you explore the gallery to glimpse into the long and interconnected musical heritage of the Silk Road.