Asian Trade Routes
The expansion of universal religions paralleled the establishment of vast trading networks between Africa, Asia and Europe. China emerged as one of the main actors in these exchanges and a major hub for innovation in the 7th century, producing world-changing inventions such as porcelain, gunpowder, paper and printing. These technologies were transported to the Islamic world, which lay at the heart of the thriving land and sea routes that supported the silk trade, linking Asia, Europe and Africa. From the 8th to 10th century, Baghdad witnessed a golden age of the arts and sciences. The caravan routes taken by merchants crossed the paths followed by pilgrims, promoting the spread of new modes of thought and the circulation of exotic materials and luxury items such as ivory, silk and ceramics, incense and jewellery.