(31 March 2016) Researchers can explore the Silk Road the 21st-century way—via the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names, which lists hundreds of thousands of places significant in art and cultural history
The loose group of ancient trade routes known today as the Silk Road ran from eastern China to the Mediterranean and greatly affected everything in its way—from commerce to the arts, from technology to religion.
The Silk Road passed through numerous countries and destination points. It skirted mountain ranges, branched into sub-routes, and turned cities into hubs of activity. Many of these cities still exist today, sometimes under modern names, while some remain only as ruins. The Road has been on our mind this spring as the Getty prepares for the exhibition Cave Temples at Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road. The show focuses on Dunhuang, an important site along the Silk Road.
The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN), maintained at the Getty Research Institute, is a resource in discovery and access for information about these places and many thousands more. TGN can be searched online, built into collection management systems, used in retrieval mechanisms, and even linked to GIS (Global Information Systems) and maps through Linked Open Data.
The announcement in full plus a handsome map is here.