Oddities & Inventions
The Other Silk Road
Text: James Hemingway
Design: Geoffrey Bunting
167pp, full colour
188mm x 223mm
About the The Other Silk Road
The Other Silk Road is an invented history revolving around the concept of ancient typography, pre-dating the accepted history of printed language.
Transatlantic Diffusion is the theory that civilisations separated by the Atlantic Ocean, specifically the Chinese and the Mayans, had contact and that the world at the time wasn't so large and primitive as it seemed. This theory gets little attention in academic circles and is roundly dismissed when suggested. When it comes to anthropology, Transatlantic Diffusion is basically ghosts. Despite characters like Thor Heyerdahl proving just how possible travel across the Atlantic in era-appropriate craft is, few are willing to lend credence to the theory.
The Other Silk Road supposes that very real evidence that the Chinese and the Olmec – in this case an island-based offshoot, known as the Ha'hun – and emulates the challenges faced by academic when bringing evidence before a scientific body that doesn't want to acknowledge it. In this fiction, James Hemingway, the protagonist of the piece, is confronted with printing blocks and ancient papers detailing a trade relationship between the Zhou Chinese and the Ha'hun. After years of research and collation, and with no doubt of the blocks' authenticity and age, Hemingway pens a paper and brings it before his peers. For presenting an unfavoured theory, his paper is rejected out of hand and Hemingway faces scientific disgrace. Undeterred, he publishes the work in a volume title The Other Silk Road and presents the information at an exhibition at our favourite museum, The Caxton Museum.
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