Arts of the Silk Road - Course and Gallery Talks

Short course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
Join us at V&A South Kensington for a 6 week art history course on the fabled Silk Roads which spanned across Asia, connecting people and places through trade and exchange from antiquity. Focussing on the first millennium, this course maps key developments in the arts and archaeology of the Silk Road, highlighting artistic developments and cultural exchange from East and Central Asia. The course will include access to a Microsoft Teams environment where all lecture slides and handouts will be made available to download.

This in-person course features two different ticketing options. Book on this page for a ticket including access to all the lectures plus two complementary gallery talks. Alternatively, search for "Arts of the Silk Road - Course" on the V&A website if you would like to book a ticket for the lectures alone. 

course photo
Portrait of Course Leader Dr Helen Glaister

Course Leader
Dr Helen Glaister

Dr Helen Glaister is an art historian specialising in Chinese ceramics and decorative arts. She worked at the British Museum and Birkbeck, University of London before joining the V&A as Course Director, Arts of Asia. Helen was awarded her MA and PhD from SOAS, University of London where she regularly teaches. Current research focusses on collection

The lecturers are excellent. The material is varied and interesting. A stimulating experience overall. Previous V&A Academy Course Attendee

Course overview

The fabled Silk Roads reached across Asia, connecting people and places through trade and exchange from antiquity. Textiles constituted just one of a diverse range of commodities which passed along the routes, acting as a vehicle for artistic and cultural interaction and transmitting technical knowledge and expertise. 
These same routes provided an important conduit for religion and faith, notably Buddhism, giving rise to thriving communities which today provide some of the most extensive material and visual evidence of Buddhist art and practise in Central Asia and China. Through religious sculpture, cave murals, paintings and manuscripts, this course explores the Buddhist arts of silk route, from the influence of the classical forms of Gandhara to the later characteristics of Tibetan Buddhism.  
Archaeological discoveries of the twentieth and twenty first centuries continue to shape our understanding of this subject and students will learn about recent finds and projects to preserve the archaeological heritage of the region. 

Bring your learning to life

V&A Academy Online courses are built using the latest Microsoft software. Tune in to expert lectures live, or catch up later on demand. Download handouts and presentations. Join the discussion in a secure, closed class environment, wherever you are.

Enrol now

Short course: Arts of the Silk Road - Course and Gallery Talks

25 September 2024 - 30 October 2024


Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

Related events

Header image: Three Heads (fragment of a wall painting) Wall Painting ca. 6th century (made) ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London