Friday, 12 April 2013


I'm hoping you'll indulge me for a few moments while I talk about rhubarb...........It's up to you, of course.
Not recipes, gardening tips or 'rhubarb, rhubarb' and absolutely nothing to do with quilting.....though there is a connection to my upcoming trip to 'The Stans'. (see  post 5th April.)

I've long been told that rhubarb is 'good for the blood' and the GOTH (gardener of the house) has just stewed up some fresh stalks of rhubarb with granny smith apples and a dash of honey which we have been enjoying for our breakfasts, but that's not the reason my interest has been piqued............ 

As I was reading 'Journeys on the Silk Road' yesterday, I came across a sentence that stopped me in my tracks..... 'The name (Silk Road) is far more romantic than if it had been named after another desirable commodity traded along the way, which might have seen it dubbed the Rhubarb Road.' (Seriously - page 85)

A quick bit of googling brought up an article in Wikipedia where I found this... 
'A measure of the value set upon rhubarb can be gotten from Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo's report of his embassy in 1403-05 to Timur in Samarkand: "The best of all merchandise coming to Samarkand was from China: especially silks, satins, musk, rubies, diamonds, pearls, and rhubarb...".'
 (You can read it for yourself...)

Who knew?

The name 'Silk Road' is apparently quite a recent appellation (coined in 1877 by a German Baron) for this vast network of trade routes stretching from China to Europe. Perhaps it could also have been called the Paper Road. For a thousand years or so before paper was known in Europe it was one of the most significant items traded along the Silk Road allowing momentous exchanges of  information in the sciences, the spread of religious teachings and for details of trade and the minutiae of daily life to be recorded easily. The original information superhighway - the Internet of its time.

So when I get to the markets in Tashkent and Samarkand next week I'll see if I can spot some rhubarb - along with silk and other textiles, of course....

I'll let you know,
Sue xxxx

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