Like U.S. 1, but Dustier

The Silk Road is remembered as the Route 66 of antiquity. Its 4,000 miles of windblown trails interwove the East and the Middle East with the West. Slaves, spices and, most especially, silk went back and forth, and the exchanges gave rise to cosmopolitanism, and even a pocket of Greco-Buddhist culture. The Silk Road was, arguably, the first stage in globalization; the next stage was the sea lanes.

On the Silk Road and High Seas: Chinese Ceramics, Culture and Commerce at the Norton Museum of Art is exhibiting precious, now-priceless artifacts from the Silk Road, with a focus on cultural hybridity. So a blue fish vase from the Ming Dynasty has bronze curlicues fashioned in a French style. The fine china is exquisite -- one doubts that anything like it could be made in this age.

The exhibit runs September 21 - November 21, 2010 at the Norton Museum of Art (1451 South Olive Avnue, West Palm Beach), which is open from Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (Second Thursday of each month: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.) Admission costs $12 or less. For more info, call (561) 832-5196, or visit
Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.; Sundays, 1 p.m. Starts: Sept. 2. Continues through Nov. 21, 2010

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Penn Bullock