Historical Geography Research ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 125-137.

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Colors of Salt from Northern Nomadic Region and Western Regions and Transportation Geography of Silk Road

Wang Zijin   

  1. Research Center of Collaborative Innovation of Unearthed Documents and Chinese Ancient Civilization, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2019-06-10 Online:2019-08-20 Published:2019-08-20


From the history of salt since Han Dynasty, we can see Chinese people’s curiosity to the rare salt from foreign lands. Salt from multiple originations has bizzare colors that are different from what people from China Proper had been observing and purchasing in their economic production and daily diet. Many scholars consider the “five-color salt” mentioned in the legendary Susha clan’s “boiling sea” as a foreign anecdote. Records like purple, blue, yellow, red and black salt could be found in various documents. These experiences with colored salt from distant places were based on practices of the long-distance transportation. There is also a connection between early memories of the Silk Road and related evidences in the salt history. This connection deserves more attention from researchers in transportation geography and cultural history.

Key words: purple salt, blue salt, yellow salt, red salt, black salt, Silk Road, transportation geography

CLC Number: 

  • K928