What Did China and India Trade in Ancient Times?

China and India have a shared history that dates back to ancient times. Both countries are known for their rich cultural heritage, and trade played a significant role in shaping their economies. In this article, we will explore the trade relationship between China and India in ancient times.

The Silk Road

The Silk Road was one of the most important trade routes that connected China and India. It was a network of trade routes that extended from China to the Mediterranean Sea, passing through India, Central Asia, and the Middle East. The name “Silk Road” comes from the Chinese silk that was traded along this route.

What did China export to India?

China exported silk, porcelain, tea, paper, gunpowder, and bronze mirrors to India. Silk was one of the most sought-after commodities by Indian traders. It was used for making clothes and as a currency in some parts of India.

Porcelain was another valuable commodity that was exported from China to India. It was used for making decorative items such as vases and bowls.

Tea was also an essential item of export from China to India. It became popular among Indian traders who introduced it to Europe.

What did India export to China?

India exported spices such as pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves to China. These spices were highly valued in Chinese cuisine and medicine.

Cotton textiles were another significant item of export from India to China. Indian cotton textiles were famous for their quality and intricate designs.

Precious stones such as diamonds were also exported from India to China. The Chinese valued these stones for their beauty and believed that they possessed magical properties.


Buddhism played a crucial role in facilitating trade between China and India during ancient times. Buddhism originated in ancient India and spread rapidly across Asia, reaching China during the Han dynasty.

The spread of Buddhism led to the establishment of Buddhist monasteries and centers of learning in China. Indian monks who traveled to China for religious purposes also helped in facilitating trade between the two countries.


In conclusion, the trade relationship between China and India in ancient times was significant in shaping their economies and cultural exchange. The Silk Road and Buddhism played a crucial role in facilitating this trade. The commodities traded between the two countries were valuable and highly prized, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of both nations.