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24 March 2008

Tea-Horse Road, or 茶马古道 (Cha Ma Gu Dao)

Gartner, Josh. 2007.
The Ancient Tea-Horse Road
Published April 11th, 2007

Tea-Horse Road, or 茶马古道 (Cha Ma Gu Dao)
(Gartner 2007).

Tea-Horse trade routes

During the Song Dynasty (960-1127) the Tea-Horse Road flourished and posts saw up to 2,000 traders per day. Annual volume of tea going to Lhasa - and often beyond - reached 7,500 tons, carried over the laborious 2,300 km trek from Xishuangbanna to the Tibetan capital. Each war horse fetched between 20 and 60 kgs of tea depending on quality and the going rate. [...]

[tmc's note: the above figures suggest that Tibet exported annually up to approx. 7,500,000 kg/20kg of tea for a horse = 375,000 horses (which is an improbably high figure), and that the volume of imported tea head to be carried by some 7,500,000 kg/60kg per carrier = 125,000 porters. tmc, 1 Nov 2007]

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