Silk Road Sects

Merchants negotiating the legendary Silk Road between the second century AD and the eighteenth Century weren’t just carrying silks and spices—they traded political, cultural and religious ideas as well, throwing Buddhism, Christianity and other faiths into a melting pot of time and place. These religions and spiritual beliefs were adapted by the people who encountered them to fit their culture, and today there are still relics of this cultural mixing: In Kyrgyzstan, there’s a Christian cemetery with gravestones marked with crosses from the early Christian Nestorian sect, another overlaid with a lotus blossom and one inscribed with the Chinese Zodiac year of the sheep.

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