The goods carried in silk road moved basically from the East to the West. Goods were usually transported by foot. Along the way people would use camels, horses, and yaks to get safely across.
Numerous goods were bartered for others on the way, and items usually changed hands many times. Aside from the apparent material goods which were exchanged, there was a good amount of cultural, religious, and philosophical ideas which were exchanged along the silk road.
Silk was the main commodity in the trade list in silk roadjudging from the road's name. According to the Chinese, silk was discovered one day when a queen accidently dropped a silkworm cocoon into her hot cup of tea, and as she plucked it out, unravelled a shiny, silken thread.
At first, the Chinese traded silk internally. As soon as silk was discovered by westerners, they were desperate to get the gorgeous cloth which represented wealth and stature. Caravans from China interior would carry silk to the western edges of the region. Usually small Central Asian tribes would attack these caravans hoping to get the traders' valuable merchandise. As a result, the Han Dynasty expanded its military defenses further into Central Asia from 135 to 90 BC so as to safeguard these caravans. Silk trade flourished and led the way for various other goods.
More than silk
There are many other luxury goods besides silk that were transported along silk road
Chinese merchants carried the famous Chinese snow-white vases, bowls, glasses, and dishes with graceful patterns. Only Chinese owned the secret of producing the thinnest and resonant porcelain, thus, it had been very costly in European markets.
Also, bronze ornaments and some other goods from this metal, ornate bronze mirrors, umbrellas, products from the famous Chinese varnish, medicines, and perfumery were well-liked. Chinese paper, one of the most outstanding inventions of Chinese technical genius, was extremely liked too.
Gold, skins and a number of other goods were exported too, such as tea and rice, amber and asbestos, woolen and flax fabrics, corals and so on.
A variety of goods came to China from Central Asia and East Mediterranean in silk road such as blankets, curtains, carpets and woolen goods. They made huge impression upon Chinese who were unfamiliar with wool and flax processing, carpet manufacture and weaving methods.
Also, Central Asia exported camels, glass items, gold and silver, military equipment and semi-precious stones, which were very well-liked in China. Other goods were wool, skins, gold embroidery and cotton fabrics; leopards and lions, fat-tailed sheep and hunting dogs; exotic fruits – water-melons, peaches and melons.
Shanghai, Xian, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi, Beijing
Xian, Lanzhou, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumqi
Urumqi, Turpan, Korla, Minfeng, Hotan, Kashgar