Zhou period Hotan and Jade Road

Mar 2015
There are some jade mines in East China, used since Neolithic:
  1. Ningshao region in Yue
  2. a region of Liaoning-Inner Mongolia
  3. around Dushan, in south Henan
However, Dushan jade is of inferior quality (saussurite). The historic jade sources in China seem to have been limited in quantity or quality - for by Shang dynasty of Tomb of Fu Hao, around 1200 BC, a large part of jade was imported Hotan nephrite.
Zhou continued to prefer Hotan jade - therefore import it.

The western borders of China in Western Zhou and Qin periods seem to have extended no further than eastern Gansu - not reaching Ningxia until Han Dynasty.

Therefore the Chinese could not collect the jade as "tribute"!
The jade had to be paid for.

What exactly did Shang China export to pay for the Hotan jade?
How did the Hotan people use their wealth? What did the settlements and graves of late 2nd millennium and early 1st millennium BC Hotan oasis look like?

What was the preferred route to transport the jade from Hotan to China?
Which settlements (whether sedentary oases or nomad camps) benefited from the jade travelling east and trade goods travelling west in return?


Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
Shang obviously were the recipients of several long-distance trade networks. I am not certain what the Shang exported but they had access to silk and also were relatively advanced in bronze working and many artisan carving crafts. Cowrie shells are the most well known long-distance trade object in the Shang so compared to Jade from Hotan in that respect which was relatively close especially considering there were rivers on the longest part of that route whereas Cowrie from India arriving to Shang dynasty is quite complicated trade route with many intermediaries. I am not sure what items originating in the Shang geographical areas have ever been discovered in India so it might well be that Shang exported food which we know for sure they had in abundance to nearer regions who then traded what they had to further off places etc.
Mar 2015
Ah. And cowry importation into China seems to have started by Xia period.

Cowry catching seems to have been in South Asia.
Which were cowry exporting regions of Asia BC?
What did they get in return for cowry?
What did they do with wealth earned for cowry?