• wall painting at Panjikent

    the silk road(s)

    Over the past century or two, the concept we’ve come to call “the silk road” has taken on a romantic haze which obscures truth. Here are some of the most popular myths, and some truths modern historians suggest instead. Myth: They called it the silk road. The truth: It’s a modern term, only applied in…

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  • leaves of dioscorides

    Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica was a medical reference of note for more than 1,500. Its manuscripts were not only a wealth of pharmacological knowledge, but also clues to the cultures who made them. Follow the story.

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  • tracing interlace

    Interlace goes back thousands of years and has been popular all over the globe. While frequently called “Celtic knotwork”, this manner of ornamentation cannot be so easily pigeonholed. Let’s trace its more complex and interesting history.

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  • a banner of master of the playing cards lions and bear images

    master of the playing card

    Active in Germany from the 1430s to the 1450s, this printmaker was the first master. One of the notable things that we’ll talk about is how his prints were used as references for illuminators.

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