Oh, the places you will go ...

The Southern Silk Road

While silk was being heavily traded in the north, just further south among the mountainous passes there was a brisk trade in tea. Yunnan and Sichuan, where tea cultivation is believed to have originated, were the main sources and traders went as far as Bengal via Myanmar, carrying up to 90kg on their backs.

The road is referred to as "Tea-Horse Road" 茶马道 because tea was often traded for Tibetan ponies needed for warfare. The practice is believed to have begun during the Song Dynasty (960 AD - 1279 AD) when Northern Nomadic tribes invaded China often and with impunity.

Arabian Desert, Gobi Desert, Siberia

With harsh winters & dry lands, the trek across the silk road was the exact opposite of its luxurious name. It was also dangerous. The weather, the terrain and the many robbers along the way kept most away and yet others preferred the large skies and endless vistas over the comforts of a home in a village.

And most likely, over a thousand years ago, the region was more grassland than desert as evidence shows the growing desert (happening even today) is due to overgrazing by farmed animals and the destruction of forests for agriculture.

Tea Traders of Yunnan

Tibetan Ponies

Gobi Desert

Bactrian Camels in the Gobi

The Stone of Heaven

Evidence of this item being traded into Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD) China can be seen in the documents and artwork of the period. Prior to it's arrival, this colour was absent from manufactured goods. It would later be replaced by the more stable Cobalt blue and incorporated into China's most popular line of Ceramics that lasted for centuries: the "Blue & White". Answer the questions below to find out it's name.


The Answer Unlocks the Document

The answer has 2 words, capita"L"ise them and leave a space.

We can clearly see how this industry has improved (faster, better, cheaper) for 2,000 years. So important and pervasive was this industry any small advancement in it would or could change the fate of entire cities and even countries.

It's military use determined the rise and fall of kingdoms so much so that its name today is directly derived from the Roman military generals who oversaw it.

If you dare to do anything grand today, know this industry well and success will follow. Ignore it's importance and the opposite is likely.

What am I?

Mined from the mountains of Sar-i sang Shortugai, Afghanistan (since 7 BC until today)

19th Century Jewellery

I am made into jewellery (like above) but also pulverised into powder to make pigments for painting faces and canvases alike.