Comparative culture

Silk Road



Travel and transportation




Yoked winged horses. Fifth to fourth century BCE. Terracotta. (Tarquinia, Etruria).


The galloping horse. Latter Han Bronze. (Gansu Provincial Meseum, Lanzhou).

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Marcus Aurelius on his parade chariot. (Musei Capitolini, Rome).


The First Emperor’s light chariot. Bronze model about half life size, excavated near the emperor’s mausoleum.

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A traveling coach. Relief found in the wall of a church in Carinthia, Austria.


Bronze model of the First Emperor’s traveling carriage.

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Second century tomb relief in Gaul showing an ox cart.


Clay model of an ox wagon. Latter Han, Yangzishan, Chengdu, Sichuan.

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Tomb painting from Ostia showing a river boat being loaded with grain to be shipped upstream to Rome.


Clay model of a river boat for grain transportation, with a crew of six. Burial item in Guangzhou, Guangdong.

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The Iron Gate gorge that impeded traffic on the Danube. When Trajan invaded Dacia in 101, he cut a canal that made navigation safe.



A spillway of the Lingqu, a canal built by the First Emperor around 215 BCE. Still in use, it links the River Xiang and River Lim thus connecting two drainage systems and creating a navigable network covering central and southern China.