FC: A Journey Through Asia 1500's-1700's
1: My Love, Today I am leaving for a journey. I will miss you but will write to you about the new places and things I see along the way. With all my heart, John
2: Dear Elizabeth, I arrived two days ago at the border of the Safavid Empire. You would not believe how grand it is! There are wondrous mosques everywhere, decorated with the most vibrant turquoise tiles you’ve ever seen! I asked about the tiles and a nice young man showed me to a huge ceramic compound. He showed me the kilns, and the glazing stations where they mix the turquoise pigments. I took detailed notes and bought eight hundred tiles and loaded them onto my wagons. I thought they would look beautiful in the kitchen. I was also captivated by the exotic deep pile rugs. Women and girls weave long yarns into massively thick, colorful rugs. I bought three to put in our bedroom. I am bringing you back several pink silk handkerchiefs, they are unbelievable soft. I stayed the houses and hotels here are really very odd.
3: They are made out of mud bricks and have shelves cut into the wall. How strange! They would wash away in a strong rain, but there isn’t very much precipitation here, so it must not be an issue. I toured the most extensive library I have ever seen. The building was immense, hundreds of meters long, and filled with so many shelves. There were scrolls, and poems, and lyrics, epic poems, mystic poetry, and philosophical literature. Too bad it isn’t in English, oh the wealth of knowledge we could have! Well, my candlestick is waning, I must go. I will return to you as soon as the expedition permits. Love, John
4: Dear Elizabeth I have been in China for four days. It is magnificent! The entire empire works smoothly and coherently, it is most impressive. Unfortunately, corruption is rife, which sets this culture apart from Europe. There are hundreds of government-run facilities that produce piles and piles of silk and ceramics. The Chinese ceramics are incredible, even more impressive than the Safavid tiles. The bowls and cups are so thin you can see light through them, and they are decorated with the deepest, richest, blue you have ever seen. I have taken notes and diagrams on the process of the ceramics, which might provide some profit when I return. I would love to bring some ceramics back, but they are not as thick or as sturdy as the tiles, and I fear that they would all shatter in our long voyage home. However, I will bring back several chests of the finest Chinese tea, whose delicate flavor will impress all of our friends when we invite them over for tea.
5: The Chinese seem to have invented a rudimentary inoculation for smallpox, whose scientific repercussions would be immense. I am planning on taking samples, and I am currently engaged in negotiations to convince one of these doctors to return home with me in order to replicate his work. I must go, the man is very stubborn and requires much convincing. I look forward to seeing you upon my return! Love, John
6: Two rugs I brought back for you!
7: Dear My Love, I just arrived in Japan and it is horrifying while also so intriguing. I have been forced to keep my religious views secret from everyone here in fear that I will be persecuted like so many others. All of the missionaries have been expelled from the | country and Christians have been prosecuted since 1587 after Toyotomi Hideyoshi was appointed imperial regent. Everyone seems to be afraid of him. Even though he isn’t the emperor, he is the true power holder in Japan. Hideyoshi was the one who removed the missionaries from the country and forbid all peasants from possessing any type of weapons in event that they decide to rebel. A peasant I met on the road was complaining to about the government. Apparently the taxes here are so high that his family is starving since the government has all of his money.
8: Despite the confiscation of their weapons the citizens are still considering rebelling. I’m shocked that in the midst of all this hardship, someone found time to make the beautiful art and architecture that they have. I went into the Great Zen Temple and you wouldn’t believe its beauty. Inside there are celadon incense burners, Southern Song ink paintings (including Huizong’s Autumn and Witer Landscapes), and Goryeo Dynasty Korean Odes to the Buddha. I wish you could be here with me. I miss you so much and I can’t wait to see you again. XOXO, John
9: My Love, Everywhere I go seems things seem to get more and more different then the way they are back home in England. I am now in a strange country called Mughal. Mughal is run by an Empire. The Empire in some ways is like our king, when he dies, he son will move on and take his place. The majority of the people are Muslims, but the Empire works hard to not discriminate against other religions, abandoning all unfair taxes and allowing every religion to practice peacefully in their own places of worship. One of the Empires, Abu Akbar, even married a Hindu to show the Empire’s dedication towards religious tolerance. The Empires allow every religion to build their own temples and worship freely. Abu Akbar is very well-liked and popular about his people and is known as “The Great”. Mughal has lots of elaborate and beautiful gardens, I’m sure you would love them; they have lots of diverse plants and many gorgeous flowers. They also have interesting paintings they call Mughal paitings. Like England, the Mughals trade with many other countries, they import lots of goods from close by countries. They even invented a seamless celestial globe. I miss you and hope to see you soon. With all my love, John
10: These are some of the Mughal gardens, they are so beautiful, they remind me of you. XOXO
11: My Love, I have missed you very much but my days have been filled with many new places and lots of exciting things. Today I am in a country called Korea. The Korean Empire is run very different then things are back in England. In Korea dynasties have the control. The dynasties work hard to help increase food production, and advance agriculture. The art here is beautiful, you would love it. There are elaborate paintings with bold and bright colors; I will try to bring one home for you. The Koreans are not Christian like we are, they practice Buddhism and Confucianism. They worship a man they call Buddha. They are very interested in the stars and astronomy. These people seem to be peaceful and pray for tranquility. They read books about us westerners, and they grow lots of crops, everything from cotton, to beans, to barley as well as fishing.I wish you could be here on this journey with me; I can’t wait to see you again. Sincerely, John
12: Dear Elizabeth, I am finally packing to return home. I have had such an adventure! I have seen so many interesting cultures, and learned so much, but I miss you beyond belief. I can’t wait to hold you in my arms once again. I am greatly looking forward to seeing the look on your face when you receive the presents I bought for you. Every time I look at the rugs I bought from Safvid they appear more and more beautiful. Oh, I also managed to buy you one of the beautiful paintings from Korea that I told you about.
13: It will be nice to return to England where we have a civilized government which is not nearly as corrupt as the ones I have seen here. I have come to a new appreciation for the life that we have. We truly are blessed. I also, missed Christianity oh so much. I have had to hide my beliefs throughout this whole trip in fear that I may be prosecuted. While I have had a great time, I can’t wait to be home again. I miss you and love you with all my heart. XOXO, John