Caravan Statues in Horgos

The Relics of Empire: Resource Extraction and the Making of Modern Xinjiang

Caravan Statues in Horgos

According to Chinese officials, the Silk Road is alive and well at the Horgos border crossing. These sculptures of a camel caravan crossing the border into Kazakhstan are intended to evoke the parallel between modern China’s connections to Eurasia and the history of cross-border connections in the area stretching back into the mists of time. It should come as no surprise that the figures leading the caravan bear little resemblance to the rough and hardy camel pullers described by observers during the 1910s and 1920s. Instead, the figures appear as heavily stylized representations of Uyghurs in modern China.