The History of Chinese Cultural Diffusion

People as the Carrier of Culture

A retrospective journey of Chinese cultural diffusion

From Chang'an to the world

Backtracking across the millennia

Our story starts in Chang'an, the most prosperous metropolis of 7th century

Click the button to start our journey

Farewell to Chang'an, the Chinese gradually went abroad on camels and boats.

The legend of the Silk Road resounded throughout the Eurasian continent, and the tale of Zheng He was recited on the desert island.

Goldrush, sailing to the South China Sea, crossing the East Sea .... the story of Chinese immigrants was happening worldwide.

600CE: Great Silk Road

A road and a story as old as time,

Asia and Europe crossing a line,

bridging divides between people and culture,

crisscrossed with danger, predators and vultures.


1400 CE: Chinese in Age of Discovery: Zhenghe's Voyage

In times that time forgot,

Zheng He sailed far seas,

with his great treasure fleet.

The beaches he landed on,

written history did not register.

(He, n.d.)

16th to 20th Century: Emigration Waves

The face of Chinatown returns its color,

plucked from July's industrial steamer.

Dry the cup!

So we do.

Four noodle shops on East

Broadway release their belches collectively.

They breed in me a hankering for family life.

(Jenny, 2022)

In 21st century, traveling by airplane is prevalent now!

The entire world is becoming a global village.

More and more Chinese go abroad for diverse reasons.

2016: Modern Chinese Diaspora

After several generations of unremitting efforts, today,

Chinatown is no longer just a Chinese ethnic enclave, but more as a distinctive

symbol of Chinese culture going global and relocation.

2022: Culture Relocation: Chinatowns in Modern Time

In the end, let's go back to the original starting point, Chang'an.

Our Team

Ce Hou
Technical Director
Rongrong Xue
Art Director
Yuning Jiang
Creative Director
Zhonghao Li
Visual Director


We would like to thank Dr. Duncan Smith and Dr. Valerio Signorelli for their support and advice throughout this project. We would also like to thank Han Yu, our friend who kindly provided the Chang'an urban layout references. Finally, we would like to thank our team for every effort we have made.


Introduction references

Chang'an References:

The Silk Road References:

The Seven Voyages of Zheng He References:

Emigration Waves References:

China's Outbound Flight Routes References:

Contemporary Chinese Diaspora References:

Chinatown and Xi'an References:

Last Background Page References: