Trade development of Xiamen-Ancient Tea-Horse Road

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: May 14,2019


The Ancient Tea-Horse Road stretching across Tongan county in Xiamen [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Caravans come as bell rings in mountain, and an ancient road stretches deep into a dense forest. 

This is the "ancient tea-horse road” stretching across the Tongan district of Xiamen, Longmen town in Anxi county of Quanzhou city, and Xiangyun town of Nan'an City. The transportation of mountain products and seafood between the forests and the mountains of the three places has continued year after year from the Song and Yuan dynasties to the period of the Republic of China. 

This ancient road is recorded in the annals of both Xiamen city and Tongan county, which describe how "the road starts from Tongan, turns to the northwest via Shangpu, and reaches Longmen town of Anxi county through Xiyuan, Banling and Dongling at an elevation of 900 meters. The 4-chi-wide (about 1.33 meters) pebble road is full of slopes and covers a complete length of 20 li (about 6.21 miles)." 

Mountain products are transported to the Caozai Port, which is located upstream of the Xixi River in Tongan via the ancient tea-horse road, shipped at the port and then sold to other places through the Maritime Silk Road. Foreign goods, such as matches, which are shipped from the Maritime Silk Road and brought inland, were transported to the mountains by means of labor and horses via the Caozai Port.