The Silk Road has been known for many purposes and ambitions including trades, diplomacy, scholarships, discoveries, religion missionaries, etc. K is a scholar in the from the Middle East who emerges in the 800s to explore the Silk Road to learn and record of the versatile of lives, cultures and religions during the T’ang Dynasty of Central China. K begins the journey in the autumn of 821. K reaches the prosperous city of Chang’an of Central China. It has been a long time since he has seen crowds of people like this. Small shops cover all the streets, there are also markets and small businesses all surrounded the busy streets of rich city life of the T’ang. K enters the scene of the lives of the courtesans in Chang’an. He pauses and enters a building with the characters: “Yue Hong Lou” written above the huge front doors. When he walks in, it is as if he has entered a world of “flowers and bees” with music, laughter, and the smell of perfume in the air that filled the whole atmosphere. Many of the clients seem like officials who immersed into their own world surrounded by the courtesans who they pick out to entertain them with musical skills, conversations, drinking songs and games.1 The courtesans each has a name of a flower. K is soon appointed with a beautiful and young courtesan name “Mei”. Mei’s face is applied with thick makeup made of powders of white and yellow lead. She has thin plucked eyebrows and yan zhi (red lip powders) applied.2 She sings and plays the flute, they sing, dance, chat while drinking alcohol with dishes of the famous foods in Chang’an. K realizes that Mei is constantly chewing on cloves to avoid getting drunk. K hears about Mei’s story. He discovers the inner lives of courtesans. Mei’s past is filled with sorrow and hardships. Mei discloses that she was sold by her poverished parents who were not able to afford supporting her so she was sold many times by her “owners” who forces her to do larbor.3 Finally she was sold to be a...
Cited: Foltz, Richard. Religions of the Silk Road. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Whitfield, Susan. Life Along the Silk Road. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999.
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