In 119 BC, Zhang Qian started on his second trip to the Western Territory with a view to establishing diplomatic ties with Wusun. Accompanying him on the trip were 300 cohorts. They took 600 horses, 10,000 sheep and cattle, and large quantities of precious silk, which they would present to the king of Wusun when they arrived.
The king of Wusun received Zhang Qian in the same way he had received a chieftain of the Xiong Nu. But, what was considered a most elaborate and honorific reception ceremony in the local culture was not good enough for Zhang Qian, who insisted that the emperor of the Han Dynasty, whom he represented, deserved much more than a chieftain of the Xiong Nu. He told the king of Wusun: "My Emperor is the Son of Heaven. The beneficiary of whatever he confers must go down on his knees.
So, either Your Lordship should kneel, or I take these presents back." After the king of Wusun obliged with the Han etiquette, Zhang Qian told him that the Han government would marry a princess to him if the state worked together with the Han Dynasty to drive away the Xiong Nu. But, Wusun being close to the territory of the Xiong Nu while far from that of the Han Dynasty, geopolitics made the royal court of Wusun believe that making war with the Xiong Nu was very unwise. Zhang Qian was finely treated in the palace of the king of Wusun, but he could not convince the king to enter into an alliance with the Han Dynasty.
All he could do in Wusun was to dispatch envoys to many other states in the Western Territory. Han representatives made it as far as the Persian Gulf. In 115 BC, Zhang Qian returned to Chang'an together with an envoy from the Wusun royal court. He died the following year. The trail that Zhang Qian blazed in his diplomatic journeys was later used by caravans as well as envoys, and came to be called the "Silk Road," a trade route across the Eurasian continent, bringing elements of Chinese culture all the way to Western Asia, and Europe.
* The Silk Road
Since Zhang Qian successfully arrived at the Western Territory on a diplomatic mission, large amount of silk fabrics of China were transported into those European and Asian countries along his course to the Western Territory. This road, which is famed for its major function of transportation of China's silk products across the Asia, is commonly called Silk Road. The road connecting China, Parthia, Greece, Rome, Arab, Macedonia and some other countries played a significant role in ancient inland trades.