For more than a thousand years, the paths of the Silk Road joined the distant empires of East Asia and the Mediterranean, forming a complex web of trade, pilgrimage and intellectual exchange between China, Central Asia, Persia, Tibet, India, the Near East and Europe. Interest in the Silk Road was renewed in the 19th century. In 1907 Sir Aurel Stein made one of the most sensational archaeological finds of all time: at Dunhuang he discovered a cache of thousands of manuscripts dating from the 5th to 11th centuries in several different languages. Most such documents have ended up in institutions like the British Museum, the Bibliotheque Nationale and other national libraries in India, China and Japan. In keeping with the diversity of the Dunhuang discoveries, this book consists of examples of manuscripts in Chinese, Khotanese, Bactrian, Gandhari, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Syriac, Hebrew and Arabic. The material provides a sense of the fruitful exchanges as well as bitter struggles in these regions over the centuries.