Culture and History of the Ancient Tea Horse Road
The "ancient tea horse road" was first formed during the Qin and Han dynasties. It developed over the Tang and Song dynasties, and began to decline in the 1910s. It is not a single road, nor a single transportation mode, but a network of paths that branched out from the main route. On the "ancient tea horse road", many caravans traveled among the Han and Tibetan ethnic groups of southwestern China, transporting commodities such as tea, horses, and salt. The ancient tea horse road connected China's southwest frontier region with the international market, making it the frontline of China's engagement with Southeast Asia and South Asia, and allowing it to be swept farther into the wave of globalization in modern times.