Mysterious Questions In The World

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Mysterious Question on Silkload: Answer

What was it that was used in Rome for silk and carried back to Xi’an???
Jan.,2014 Mystery Hunter

The report about the answer to the question above is very long.
I am sure there must be many people who cannot follow through it.
So I tell my answer Now!

What was used in Rome for silk and carried back to Xi’an was 'the Solidus', in other words, a Roman gold coin.

If you have any doubts about my answer, please read my long report about how I reached this answer after hard work.

For your reference, this question and the answer of ‘Mysterious Question on the Silkroad’ was disclosed last July among the members of Production Engineering Research Group which consists of retired engineers from an electrical company in Japan.
I could enjoy discussing with members through the network opened only for the Group.

My mysterious questions in the world are already listed as follows:
1)Mysterious Question on the Silkroad: Silk (disclosed)
2)Mysterious Question on the Silkroad: Rhyme
Already disclosed in the Group but will not disclosed in English as the translation of the question and the answer is too tough for me with poor English ability especially about the poems and the relics.
3)Mysterious Question on India: Buddhism
Already disclosed in the Group and will be disclosed too, in English.
4)Mysterious Question on South America: Theme not fixed yet
This February, I am visiting Machu Picchu in Peru and Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa) in Bolivia. I am trying to find out a mysterious question there.
If you have any question about these places, please let me know and I will try to gather the information on it while visiting there.
5)Mysterious Question on Egypt: the Nile
The question and its answer are finished as I intended to visit Egypt and enjoy the cruising on the Nile. But unfortunately the cruise on the Nile is canceled as the visitors from foreign countries to Egypt are decreasing in numbers due to the trouble between the government and an Egyptian political party. So I changed my destination from Egypt to South America. I think I will visit Egypt someday.
・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・
Answer to the mysterious question on the Silkroad: Silk
July 2013 Mystery Hunter

While traveling in the Gobi desert by bus, Mr. K who is a 'descendant' of XuFu suddenly asked me his mysterious question:

The silk traveled from China to Rome, right? Then what traveled from Rome to Xi’an for the silk?

The answer seemed to be gold or silver. No, it must not be!
Maybe glass? Elephants or entertainers’ teams as my Chinese guide says?
I tried hard to get the answer while I was in China on the tour. And back in Japan, I did too. But I could not reach to the answer.

Then, I disclosed Mr. K’s mysterious question among the members of my Production Engineering Research Group. Their answers are:

It is a weapon. It is money. It is gold.
It is a religion; Christianity. It is the Pythagorean theorem.

I gave 'Wrong!' to every answer like: There is no evidence you can show that it was used in Rome for the silk and carried back to Xi’an on the Silkroad.

But I also gave my comment like:The Christianity is to be the answer as there is a picture discovered in Turfan that shows the figure of Christ and his pupils.
基督図
There still remain churches along the Silkroad and in Xi’an too!
Moreover, the name ‘Christianity’ has a profound value as the name ‘silk’ has.
However, Christianity cannot be the answer.
Because you cannot exchange Christianity for silk!
Christianity is not a goods to be used to replace with silk.

Money, gold or silver may be an answer. However it is hard to tell it was carried back to Xi’an from Rome. Moreover, you cannot show any evidence that it was used for silk.

In order to get a genuine answer to this question, I think, it is important to analyze the question precisely at first.

The question is made of two sentences!
First sentence goes: The silk traveled from China to Rome, right?
Second sentence goes: Then what traveled from Rome to Xi’an for the silk?

Let’s check the first sentence: The silk traveled from China to Rome, right?

You will notice that it is a question!: Did the silk travel to Rome from Xi’an?
The answer is ‘Yes.’ It is very natural for the people to think the silk traveled from Xi’an to Rome because the road used for carrying it is called ‘Silkroad!’
The silk was carried on the road. That is why German Geologist Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen named the road ‘Silkroad’ in late 1900s.

There is an old document found in Rome that says:
In Rome, the silk made in China is an utmost favorate among ladies in a high society because clothing made of silk is marvelously beautiful and light.

The silk had to be made-in-China because the quality of it was superior to any other silks made in any other countries. Then emperor in Xi’an around 3rd century AC prohibited exporting silkworm to foreign countries to protect his trade benefit. Since then, the silk in Rome had been a Chinese government monopoly for a long period.

There is a story about a bride who was given to a barbarian in a country west of a China dynasty.
Her bridegroom asked her to take silkworm out of the dynasty. So she did.
The fact is in the picture found in Hetian; a small town on the south edge of Taklamakan desert. In the picture, her maid is pointing with her index finger at the wedding veil on the bride's head. In the veil, there is silkworm!
蚕とターバン

The answer to the first question is ‘Yes.’ The silk was carried to Rome from Xi’an and changed with something.

Let’s go to the second sentence:
Then, what traveled from Rome to Xi’an for the silk?
What was it that was used to get silk in Rome and carried back to Xi’an on the Silkroad?

Think carefully about the goods that might have been exported from China more than 1500 years ago. Then you may notice many possibilities like fruits, vegetables, grains, seasonings, books, tools, accessories, cottons and any other goods that were used in everyday life. Among one of them was silk.

Most of the exported goods from the Chinese dynasty were consumed at towns on the Silkroad and did not reach to Rome. But the Chinese silk reached to Rome although some or most of it was consumed or lost on the Silkroad. In Rome, the silk was exchanged for something and this something was carried back to Xi’an.
What was the ‘something?’

This something was a Roman gold coin called ‘the Solidus.’

The Solidus coin was made in Rome in 3rd century through 11th century.
This Solidus coin is made of gold and also made in Rome under the severe control of Roman emperors.
As the evidence that the Solidus was made in Rome, it has the portrait of then emperor with his name on it.
ソリドゥス金貨 ノミマス

The Solidus coins are founded in Xi’an and at several small oasis towns along the Silkroad!
If you visit Xi'an, you can see them at Xi’an History Museum and Xi'an PeLing Museum.

In addition, the document about silk was found in Rome that says:
In Rome, China silk is exchanged with gold which weighs equivalent to silk.

The buyers must be Roman merchants or rich mans.
They usually use money when buying something.

There is a possibility that they used silver coins for silk.
But this did never happen.

Think about the values of silk, gold coin and silver coin.
The value of silk was equivalent to the gold of the same weight.
It is hard to tell the exchange rate between gold and silver at that time.
Suppose the rate in Rome was almost same to todays' rate in the world.
The value of one gram gold is equivalent to the value of approx. 60 gram silver.

One camel can carry the burden of approximately 200 kilograms. Probably the camel must have carried about 40 kilos of silk and 160 kilos of water and food for a long journey from Xi’an to Rome through deserts. This '40 kilos of silk' was traded with ’40 kilos of Roman gold coins’ in Rome.
On the way back to Xi’an, the gold coin of the same weight of silk was on the back of the camel with water and food.

But what happened if the silver coin were used for silk? The coins equivalent to silk of one camel came to the weight of 2,400 kilos! You need twelve camels only for carrying the coins! It must have been impossible to gather so many camels in Rome. Even for the buyer, it was too tough to carry 2,400 kilos of silver coins to the market. Rich people never carry such heavy coins with them just to exchange for something. It must be gold coin and never be silver one.

There is other valuables that might have been used for silk in Rome. For example, pictures drawn by famous painters. On the wall in my small living room, there is a picture titled ‘going through Loulan Ruins: Moon.’ Loulan was an ancient small dynasty in the middle of the Taklamakan desert. Today, only the ruins remain although it is hard to find as the ruins is covered with sand.
The painter is Ikuo Hirayama, one of the most famous painter in Japan who passed away several years ago.
  新しい画像 (2)

I bought it at a special corner opened temporalily in Ito-Yokado, near my condominium. Generally they handle goods which are not so expensive.
I had been watching several pictures at the corner and leaving there when the man came to me and said:
‘I beg you to buy one of pictures for god sake. There is no customers who buy any picture here! If you are very kind to buy a picture, I give you 50% of discount. Please! Help me!.’
So I bought the picture to help him!

The price was about 3,000 USD after discount. Of course, the picture is a fake. I mean the picture is not original. It is a picture copied maybe in a silk-screening method.
The original is on display at a museum in Yamanashi prefecture, north of Tokyo. The price might be around 3 million USD. The size is approx. 100cm by 40cm and it weighs about 200 grams! It is extremely valuable, small and light! So it is very suitable to the goods for the costly silk. It is also very easy to carry back on the long way to Xi’an. The art like this picture must be an answer to the mysterious question on the Silkroad!

However, it cannot be the answer. Because, such valuable art is an only one and no other! People don't want to leave such only one valuable art easily even for silk. Neither did Romans! The Roman must have used gold coins for silk.

In China, it is very popular to collect goods made of special stone like jade, for example.
Some goods made of jade in China might have been carried to Rome and exchanged with Roman gold coins. If so, the Roman gold coins found in Xi’an were not only for silk but for Jade!
However, many jade goods were never sold in Rome because the taste of Romans was different from Chinese. Romans did not have much interest in Jade!

It was the Solidus coin or Roman gold coin that was used to get silk in Rome and carried back all the way through Silkroad to Xi’an.

Q.E.D (quod erat demonstrandum)

I thank you very very much for your patience to read this long and silly report.
If you have time, please check the next mysterious question about Buddha that is going to be disclosed in a week or so.

Best regards
Mystery Hunter
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