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Stunning works in precious metals, glass, and stone--many recently excavated and virtually unknown outside China--shed new light on a pivotal epoch in Chinese history. From the 4th through 7th century, monks and merchants freely traveled along the fabled Silk Road, linking China with the west, propagating Buddhism, and purveying exotic goods and artifacts that fundamentally transformed Chinese culture and society. This sumptuous volume, the first to explore the magnificent treasures and sites of China's northwest section of the Silk Road, accompanies an exhibition at the Asia Society in New York. The text by an international team of scholars illuminates the importance of the region in this period of fertile cross-cultural exchanges between Eastern and Western Asia.