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India-China cultural exchanges – before Christian Era

India and China are both ancient civilizations and as close neighbors, there has been friendly intercourses and cultural exchange between their people for more than 2,000 years. During this period, cultural exchanges between India and China have been carried out at various levels through different channels and with rich content. There were political, diplomatic, and people-to-people contacts, intercourse by land as well as by sea and material as well as spiritual exchange. It is a unique example in the history of cultural exchanges in the world and the story of this shared cultural journey must be spread far and wide.印度和中国同为文明古国,作为近邻,两国人民友好交往和文化交流已有2000多年的历史。这一时期,印中文化交流多层次、多渠道、内容丰富。有政治、外交、民间交往,有陆海相交,有物质交流,也有精神交流。这是世界文化交流史上独一无二的典范,这一共同的文化之旅的故事必须广为流传。
t is difficult to determine when the cultural exchange between India and China actually began. However, it is accepted that ancient Indians had known China no later than the 4th century BCE. Some Indian books such as Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Arthashastra, had mentioned Cina (ie China) more than once. In the Arthashastra, which was composed in about the 4th century BCE, Chinese silk was documented, indicating that the silk trade between India and China already existed. 很难确定印度和中国之间的文化交流何时真正开始。然而,人们普遍认为古印度人不迟于公元前 4 世纪就知道中国。一些印度书籍,如《摩诃婆罗多》、《罗摩衍那》和《Arthashastra》,不止一次提到过中国(即中国)。在大约公元前 4 世纪撰写的《Arthashastra》中,记载了中国的丝绸,表明印度和中国之间的丝绸贸易已经存在。
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In ancient times, Indians and Chinese both divided the sky into 28 constellations in the same order, demonstrating mutual exchanges in the field of astronomy. In the centuries before Christ, cultural exchange between India and China is characterized by a combination of trade and efforts to establish contacts with each other. According to Shi Ji (Record of History), Zhang Qian (unknown~114 BCE) started for the Western Regions in 135 BCE on a diplomatic mission and came back 13 years later. In Bactria (now Iran and Afghanistan), he found cloth produced in Sichuan and rods made of Qionglai bamboo. Local people said such articles were from merchants who came from Sichuan and were doing business in India. When the Emperor Wu of Han (Liu Che, 156 BCE~87 BCE) learned of this, he sent envoys time and again to southwestern China to look for the passage to India, but was obstructed by local people. They all returned without accomplishing anything. The passage through which Zhang Qian went to the Western Regions was called the ‘Western Region Road’ that is the ‘Silk Road’. With this road being opened, an increasing number of envoys were sent from China to India. According to Da Yuan Biographies of Shi Ji when Zhang Qian was on his second trip to the Western Regions, he sent his deputy envoy to India. After Zhang Qian, in the 1st century BCE, China on an average sent seven or eight missions to the Western Regions every year, with each mission consisting of more than 100 persons and taking eight or nine years to accomplish a round trip. Frequent contacts enabled the Chinese to have a better knowledge of India. In the section on “Biographies of Western Regions” in Shi Ji, the geographical setting, products, traditions, etc., of some Indian places and their relationship with the Han Dynasty, etc., were recorded. In southwestern China, the “Dian-Mian Road” (Yunnan-Burma) had existed for long as a route to India through which private trade activities had been carried out. Moreover, in the 2nd century BCE, there was also a sea route between China and India, which was referred to as the “South Sea Road”. In the section on Geography in Han Shu (Book of Han Dynasty), a clear sea route from Guangdong to Kanci (now Kanchipuram in South India) as well as a specific shipping schedule was recorded. At that time, goods shipped to India mainly included gold and silk fabrics and those brought from India mainly consisted of gem, crystal, and glassware. 在古代,印度人和中国人都将天空按照相同的顺序划分为28个星座,展示了天文学领域的相互交流。在基督之前的几个世纪里,印度和中国之间的文化交流的特点是贸易和相互建立联系的努力相结合。据《史记》记载,张骞(不详~公元前114年)于公元前135年出使西域,13年后归来。在大夏(今伊朗和阿富汗),他发现了四川产的布和邛崃竹制成的棒。当地人说,这些物品是来自四川的商人在印度做生意的。汉武帝(刘彻,公元前156年~前87年)得知此事后,多次派使者到中国西南地区寻找通往印度的通道,但遭到当地民众的阻挠。他们都什么也没做就回来了。张骞去西域的通道,叫做‘西域路’,也就是‘丝绸之路’。随着这条路的开通,越来越多的使节从中国被派往印度。据《史记大元传》记载,张骞第二次西域之行时,曾派副使前往印度。张骞以后,公元前1世纪,中国平均每年向西域派遣七、八次使团,每使团一百多人,往返一趟需要八九年时间。频繁的接触使中国人对印度有了更好的了解。 《史记》的“西域传”部分记载了一些印度地方的地理环境、物产、传统等,以及与汉朝的关系等。在中国西南部,“滇缅路”(滇缅)作为通往印度的通道,私人贸易活动通过这条路线存在已久。而且,在公元前2世纪,中国和印度之间还有一条海路,被称为“南海路”。汉书地理篇中记载了从广东到甘孜(今南印度甘奇普兰)的清晰海路和具体的船期。当时,运往印度的货物主要是黄金和丝绸,从印度运来的主要是宝石、水晶和

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