CCHM2001: Exploring Silk Roads Heritage

Credits: 15


The Silk Roads were a network of paths connecting civilisations in the East and West that was well travelled for approximately 1,400 years, formally established during the Han Dynasty of China. Central Asia and China’s northwest frontier lay at the heart of this network. The UNESCO Silk Roads Programme promotes cultural heritage from sections of the land and maritime Silk Roads, including historical sites and monuments, costumes and rituals, traditional knowledge, and craftsmanship as well as contemporary festivals and events.

This unique module explores Silk Roads with the focus on Dunhuang, which is a county-level city in the North-western Gansu Province of China and is best known for the nearby Mogao Caves (UNESCO world heritage site).

The module aims to:

  • Review the history, culture and arts of Silk Roads (tangible and intangible)

  • Establish the knowledge of International Dunhuang Project (IDP)

  • Explore the historic Silk Roads

  • Debate different subject areas of the Dunhuang heritage (artefacts, mural paintings, manuscripts, caves’ structure, heritage site management, etc.)

  • Critically analyse UK’s Dunhuang collections (Stein collection)

  • This module is suitable for museum professionals or individuals who would like to learn more about this subject area.



Have a conceptual understanding of:

  • The history and culture heritages of Silk Roads / Dunhuang Collections

  • The UNESCO Silk Roads Programme

  • The international collaboration work of International Dunhuang Project (IDP)

  • Dunhuang collections in the UK (British Library, British Museum and V&A Museum)

  • Conservation methods of Dunhuang objects in the UK


  • Ability to identify key issues surrounding Silk Roads / Dunhuang collections around the world

  • Ability to critically analyse existing Silk Roads / Dunhuang collections and make creative suggestions for improvement

  • Explore how digital technologies are used to present Silk Roads / Dunhuang information

  • Explore the areas that are covered by the Silk Roads / Dunhuang heritage


  • Introduction to historic silk roads

  • Introduction to International Dunhuang Project (focusing on the management of British Library and Dunhuang Research Academy)

  • Dunhuang collections in China

  • Dunhuang collections in the UK and France

  • History, culture and arts of Dunhuang

  • Conservation of Dunhuang manuscripts and paintings

  • Dunhuang mural paintings


Students will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, guest lectures, workshops and visits.


Coursework 1 (40%) & Coursework 2 (60%)

Total: 100 %