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Chinese Cultural Heritage


Chinese Cultural Heritage



CULTURAL HERITAGE - ANCIENT CAPITAL 1: DREAM OF THE ANCIENT CAPITALS

Luoyang is the earliest ancient capital in the history of Chinese civilisation. The large quantities of ritual vessels that have been unearthed during archaeological excavations conducted at the Erlitou site located in Yanshi, which is under the administration of Luoyang City, confirmed that it was the ancient capital of the Xia Dynasty 3,800 years ago. More recent studies reveal that both the Xia and Shang Dynasties established their capitals in Luoyang, causing it to be dubbed "The First Capital of China".

Xi'an was the capital of 13 different dynasties. With a total building time of over 1,000 years, it is the ancient capital with the longest construction period in Chinese history, as well as the one which has experienced the most dynasties.

Nanjing, often known by the titles of "Ancient Capital for Six Dynasties" and "Capital City for Ten Dynasties", was made the centre of the Chinese empire after Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Ming Dynasty.

Beijing became China's political centre when the Mongol Empire established its capital there. It remained as the kingdom's administrative, economic and cultural hub throughout the Ming and Qing Dyansties.

In this programme, we will examine past cultures by exploring the Four Great Ancient Capitals. Have their legacies survived into this day and age where the facades of cities transform in the blink of an eye? And will their tales continue to be told? History is a mirror V it not only reflects the truth, but also sheds light on references from which people can learn.


DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - ANCIENT CAPITAL 2: THE TALE OF SHU

The treasures of an undocumented legendary ancient empire hidden in the Sichuan Basin, comparable to the Terracotta Army, have been unearthed and restored to their former glory. Known as the State of Shu, it was already established on the Chengdu Plain over 4,000 years ago, before the Xia Dynasty came into existence in China. Chengdu became the centre of the kingdom, which was ruled by five dynasties before being conquered by the State of Qin.

Relics such as the paper-thin Golden Sun Bird, a mystical golden mask, over-the-top bronze masks, as well as the lofty and majestic bronze sacred tree, none of which have appeared in the Central Plain before, were crafted by the hands of the Shu people who lived more than 3,000 years ago. The artefacts not only give us a glimpse of their views on religion and the world, but also make us wonder how these people who dwelled in the Sichuan Basin conceived such notions to create the Shu culture, one which is distinct from Chinese civilisation.

The disappearance of the State of Shu did not bring the development of Chengdu to a halt. Using their wisdom, the Shu people built the Shu Roads which crossed mountains and connected the state with the Central Plain V a feat "as difficult as climbing to the heavens" in the words of the great poet, Li Bai. These roads have facilitated the exchange between the two regions for over 2,000 years, enabling Shu Brocade to flourish. Despite the passing of time, many seasoned craftsmen remain devoted to the creation of these delicate silk fabrics to this very day.

The legacies left behind by the ancient Shu civilisation are treasures for future generations. How are the people of modern Chengdu continuing to learn about their heritage?


DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - ANCIENT CAPITAL 3: SONG DYNASTY IN INHERITANCE

The city of Kaifeng in Henan province is located at the centre of the cradle of Chinese civilisation and has more than 2,700 years of history. According to Chinese history, seven dynasties established their capitals here. In particular, during the Northern Song Dynasty, the capital of Kaifeng had a population of over one million and was the kingdom's economic, political and cultural hub of its time. With descendants calling it "a city whose affluence and beauty are unmatched by any other", it is currently one of the world's leading cities.

Historically, Kaifeng has been flooded numerous times by the Yellow River. Each time after the city was buried in loess, the following dynasty would build a new one on the original site, giving Kaifeng its unique wonder w "The Stacked Cities". At present, a total of six cities are buried beneath Kaifeng, namely Daliang City founded by the State of Wei during the Warring States Period, Bianzhou City of the Tang Dynasty, Dongjing City of the Northern Song Dynasty, Bianjing City of the Jin Dynasty, and Kaifeng City of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Archaeologists have discovered that ever since the Tang Dynasty, the overall layout of each capital was roughly the same, resulting in the "gate stacked upon gate" and "road stacked upon road" phenomena.

Although these ancient capitals are buried underground, the wisdom and traditional culture of their inhabitants seeped into modern life long ago. Wang Suhua is the inheritor of Bian embroidery, an intangible cultural heritage of China. The craft became renowned throughout China as early as the Song Dynasty and is amongst one of the five famous styles of Chinese embroidery. Wang has dedicated a lifetime of effort to embroidery, collecting needlework items in different places, studying their craftsmanship, and passing on what she has learned to her apprentices, so that the legacy can be continued. Yin Guoquan is the fifth-generation owner of an old New Year Paintings (Nian Hua) shop in Kaifeng's Zhuxian Town who has devoted his life to the creation of festive images on woodblocks. His grandson, Yin Engan, has already mastered the craft's techniques passed down from his grandfather and become the seventh-generation successor despite being only 21 years old. Apart from New Year Paintings, the most important thing to Engan is his two daughters. He has one silent wish V that his daughters will take up his mantle in the future and enable the craft to flourish.

The Yellow River gave birth to the Chinese people, yet its own relentless waters obliterated Kaifeng on more than one occasion. The archaeological wonder of "The Stacked Cities" stands as testament to the civilisation's undying tenacity. Today, even though the affluent Dongjing City of the Northern Song Dynasty is no longer in sight, the wisdom and traditional culture it has left behind continue to live on quietly through the residents of Kaifeng.


DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - ANCIENT CAPITAL 4: JOURNEY TO THE WEST

The annual rainfall in the Turpan region of Xinjiang is significantly below its evaporation rate, and the area near the Flaming Mountains are especially well-known for its aridness. Water from the Tian Shan mountain range flows gently between the sandy dunes and barren ridges, turning the desert into an oasis which drew people in and gave birth to civilisation. In the "Traditions of the Western Regions" chronicle of the Book of Han, it is recorded that more than 30 states had already established themselves throughout the Western Regions as early as the 2nd century BC, hence the saying "the 36 states of the Western Regions". Located at the heart of Eurasia, the Western Regions were an integral part of the Silk Road. Serving as a transit point for trade and cultural exchange between the East and the West, it was an exotic place full of danger and opportunity. Traces of two of the 36 states, namely the Nearer Jushi Kingdom and the State of Gaochang, can still be found in the Turpan region today.

The Nearer Jushi Kingdom was one of the major states in the Turpan region. Its captial, now known as the Jiaohe Ruins, is the largest, oldest, as well as best-preserved adobe city in the world. In 89 BC, the state was destroyed by the Han Dynasty, which placed Wu and Ji Colonels in the Western Regions and later developed the expanses of wasteland there for agricultural use. The capital was moved to the Gaochang Wall, a part of the Protectorate of the Western Regions, to watch over trade along the Silk Road, thereby gradually shifting the political and economic centre of the Turpan region from the city of Jiaohe to Gaochang.

Having stood as junctions where the exchange of ethnic history and culture took place for more than 2,000 years, the Jiaohe Ruins and Gaochang Ruins finally became UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in 2014. They are important locations for studying ancient China, as well as histories related to aspects such as transportation, war & religion. Buddhist temples, monastaries and pagodas occupy the most prominent positions of the cities. It is especially delightful to learn that the monastery at which the great monk of the Tang Dynasty, Xuanzang, spoke during his stay in Gaochang while on his "Jorney to the West" is still perfectly preserved to this very day.

Since ancient times, the culture of the Western Regions has emanated grandeur, excitement, fascination and charm. Upon setting foot in the old capital, can you imagine the freedom, diversity, openness, allure and grace of this historic state back in its day?


DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - ANCIENT CAPITAL 5: CLOUDS IN DALI

The historical Dali Kingdom (937 V 1254 AD) was located in the peripheral area of what is now known as Yunnan Province of China. Its territory spanned outwards from Erhai Lake, roughly covering the current province of Yunnan, southwestern Sichuan and northern Myanmar. According to history, Duan Siping conquered the Nanzhao Dynasty in 937 AD and established the Dali Kingdom. Due to its worship of Buddha, Dali was also known as "The Kingdom of Incense", with many of its 22 emperors giving up the throne to become monks, illustrating the religion's profound influence on the empire.

In 1253 AD, the Kingdom of Dali succumbed to the forces of the Mongol Empire led by Kublai Khan. The present Dali Old Town was restored according to early Ming architecture, and is surrounded by a moat with a radius of 6km which is square in appearance, as well as by city walls which are 8m high and 7m thick. Erhai Gate, located on the east city wall, faces Erhai Lake, while Cheng'en Tower to the south watches over Dali City's busiest route and Cangshan Gate to the west sits at the foot of the mountain it is named after.

Although the Dali Kingdom is now long gone, Duan Liansu, a descendant of the Duan bloodline in his 70s, continues to watch over Duan Siping's former residence silently. He relives his ancestors' days of glory through compiling his family tree. Meanwhile, the fisherfolk living alongside Erhai Lake have carried on the thousand-year-old tradition of cormorant fishing.

Furthermore, a village named Nuo Deng, which sustained the kingdom's economy with its abundance of salt, was discovered to the west of Dali Old Town. Its ancient salt wells, passageways for salt transportation by horse, traditional salt production methods, and even residences from the Ming and Qing periods, have been preserved. The village is one of very few in western Yunnan which has been kept in its original state, and is steeped in the charm of the Dali legacy.


DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - ANCIENT CAPITAL 6: THE PYRAMIDS OF THE WESTERN XIA EMPIRE

It is a customary practice for each Chinese dynasty to compile historical records of its predecessor, but nothing about the State of Western Xia is mentioned in the "Twenty-Four Histories" of China. There are claims that this is because Genghis Khan died during the invasion of the mighty empire, causing the Mongols to exact revenge by deliberately omitting its existence and only compiling the "History of Song", "History of Jin" and "History of Liao" after the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty. In any case, the lack of official historical records has led this feudal separatist regime, founded by the Dangxiang tribe (also known as the Tangut people), and which once stood alongside the Song, Liao, and Jin Dynasties for 200 years, to become a blur. At the same time, however, it has also given future generations infinite space to imagine its former beauty, as demonstrated in the creation of the fictional princess of Western Xia, Meng Gu, in Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils by novelist Jin Yong.

Today, upon seeing the magnificent Western Xia Imperial Tombs on the Yinchuan Plain, one cannot help but marvel at the fact that such sophisticated architectural aesthetics existed in this border country established by nomads. Meanwhile, the mysterious Tangut script seems to have foreshadowed the restoration of the empire's history V Li Fanwen, a Tangutologist now in his seventies, has spent one-third of his life compiling a a Tangut-Chinese dictionary, the golden key to unlocking the literary treasure trove left behind by this ancient state.


DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - ANCIENT CAPITAL 7: CASTLE ON THE PRAIRIE

In 1798, after British poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge read Hakluytus Posthumus, or Purchas his Pilgrimes by English author Samuel Purchas, he had a dream of one of the scenes from the book, prompting him to wake up and write Kubla Khan: Or, A Vision in a Dream. A Fragment. The poem depicts the heavenly city constructed during Kublai Khan's rule of China called Xanadu, a word which has since become synonymous with paradise on Earth. This utopia was Shangdu, the Yuan Dynasty capital built on a prairie.

The city is located in the present Plain Blue Banner administrative subdivision of Xilingol League in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. During the Yuan Dynasty, Khan established two capitals in order to reinforce his rule. His headquarters in Beijing became known as Dadu, while Kaiping, the city on a prairie which he built from scratch and where he began his reign, was renamed Shangdu. Every spring and autumn equinox, each emperor of the Yuan Dynasty would travel to Shangdu and manage political affairs from there. Sadly, this heart which pumped lifeblood into Eurasia only beat for a brief century. After the completion of its construction in 1256, Shangdu was destroyed by the Red Turban Army in 1358, bringing an end to the glorious Yuan Dynasty rule of the Mongol Empire.

In 2012, Shangdu was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site, being deemed as the capital on a prairie which "witnessed the unique fusion of agrarian Han Chinese and nomadic Mongolian civilisations in northern Asia." The local Mongolian herders have preserved the characteristics of this cultural intersection to this very day, serving as the guardians of Xanadu, a city which has been passed down through the generations.


DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - ANCIENT CAPITAL 8: THE MANCHU LEGACY

Cultural Heritage - Ancient Capital, with 8 episodes of documentary to explore different important capitals throughout the thousands of years in the Chinese history. These capitals, though all facing modernization nowadays, the marks of civilization glories can be traced, and the precious value of traditional spirit can still be found.

Nurhaci (also known as Kundulun Khan), who united various Jurchen tribes, moved his empire's capital from Dongjing in Liaoyang to Shengjing in Shenyang to advance his plans of conquering the Ming Dynasty. His grandson, the Shunzhi Emperor, succeeded in doing so in 1644 and became the foreign ruler of China. At the time, the total population of different Manchu tribes barely exceeded 400,000. So what gave them power over more than a billion Han Chinese?

The name "Manju" (Manzhou) was invented by Nurhaci's son, Hong Taiji. In order to give the nomads scattered throughout the empire a sense of belonging, he imparted this name to their ethnic group and installed the newly-created Manchu language as the official tongue. The emperor realised that he could only dominate the realm by combining the strengths of each tribe. Included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004, the Shenyang Imperial Palace (also known as Mukden Palace) combines the architectural characteristics of the Han, Manchu, Mongolian and Tibetan people, and is dubbed "The Exemplar of Chinese Palatial Architecture".

While the Manchu people embraced Han culture during its rule of China, their own customs were gradually being assimilated. Although they comprise China's third largest ethnic minority group with a population of over 10 million, Manchu culture is at the brink of extinction and waiting to be rescued.

At present, many devoted individuals are dedicating themselves to the preservation and passing down of Manchu culture. At Nurhaci's birthplace, Hetu'ala City (the current Xinbin Manchu Autonomous County of Liaoning Province), Manchurian primary schools have designed classes on Manchu language and culture for their students. Meanwhile, Mr. Guan Changsheng, the inheritor of the art of Manchurian paper-cutting, is recording the ethnic group's traditions using his craft. Despite ulabun, a storytelling entertainment which is performed in the Manchu language, being a lost art, Mr. Cha Shuyuan, who has been involved in its performance for almost 60 years, continues to hope that Manchu legends and folktales can be passed down through a mixture of singing and recital.

RsıùP, the seventh-generation grandson of the Qianlong Emperor, is the current head of the Aisin Gioro clan. In July each year, he leads his family, tribe, and other Manchu descendants in paying respects to their ancestors at the Yongling Tombs, an ancestral burial ground, as a sign of ethnic unity and to uphold the traditional virtue of ancestor reverence.


DVD / 2016 / 25 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 01: STANDING BY THE YELLOW RIVER

The Yellow River is the birthplace of Chinese culture. It is 5464km in length, covering an area of 795 000 km squares. Since a long time ago, many groups have settled by the River, and various cultural patterns have been developed along this cradle of Chinese civilization. The 100 thousand Salars living in the Xunhua Salar Autonomy County located in the east of Qinghai Plateau is a living example. Their hamlets and trails are all blessed with the nourishment of the River.

The Yellow River is not tame. People in the past held that it was impossible to build a bridge over it. However, the Salars can cross the River with the help of a sheepskin raft, a traditional transport which can carry passengers and goods up to ten tons, depending on the size of the raft. The Salars play an instrument called Kouxuan. This hoof-shaped instrument, made of copper or silver, is only as big as a paper clip. Its tone is plaintive and delicate.

The tenth of the twelfth month in the Hijri calendar (Islamic calendar) marks Corban Festival, or Slaughtering Festival. This traditional Islamic festival is the most important festival for the Salars. As preparation, people have to clean their houses to show respect. On the festival day, adult Muslims have to wash themselves, light incense and dress properly, with men attending a Mosque service early in the morning. Families slaughter cattle, sheep or camels to make food; sweet, cakes, noodles etc. are also prepared and shared among friends and neighbours. As an immigrant group integrating themselves into Chinese culture along the Yellow River, the Salars are striving to preserve their own culture so that it will not disappear. To extend their once rich and colourful culture, they make all the endeavours to retain their identity and live with the River.


DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 02: THE WONDER OF THE TERRACES

Long standing traditional cultures can always inspire modern civilization. While only ten percent of the earth consists of flat land, sixty percent of it is water and thirty percent is mountains. Terraced field farming is actually a possible solution to food shortage.

More than 1200 years ago, the Hani, with the help of primitive tools, created the Terraces along the contour lines on the desolate Ailao Mountains in Yuanyang County. The collective endeavours of the nameless ancestors successfully turned the mountains into 170,000 acres of fields, providing nurture to more than 300,000 villagers today.

Water is essential to farming. Although there is no reservoir in the mountains, the cloud sea and the forest stand as the important water sources for the farming activities there. The Hani regard trees as their guardian gods. Trees can store water. People's respect for trees has in a way protected the water sources in the mountains. The Honghe River below the Ailao range has been supplying moisture to the Terraces for ages water circulates around the mountains as it vapourizes at the bottom to form clouds and fogs at the top and cools down in the forest to become water droplets and finally streams. Water, together with animal manure as fertilizers, is then collected through canals to irrigate the farmland.


DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 03: MEANDERING IN THE TERRACES

Over 1200 years ago, the ancestors of the Hanis, using only hoes, turned the adverse geographical area in the Ailao Mountains in Yuanyang, Yunnan, into a large piece of farmland. By doing so, they created an ecological system along the terraces and gave birth to a piece of art featured by picturesque natural scenery. A culture surrounding the terraces has been established.

The Hanis grow red rice without insecticides. Every year when they reap, it is a chance for clansmen to foster relationships with each other since they always help each other to harvest and transfer bags of grain from the bottom of the terraces to home. Rice growing is particularly hard work in this place. Although the mountains provide farmers with desirable fields, they also pose difficulties for them. Each step in the terraces is more than one metre high. Farmers cannot use a shoulder pole while climbing up and down the field. They always carry things on the back- bricks, crops or even children can be carried in a back basket. With loads of goods on the back, one cannot avoid bending one's head. Life on the farm has made the Hanis enduring and humble.

Traditional Hani architecture features couch grass roofs. However, since the new generation prefer modern buildings, this kind of structure, called mushroom houses, are disappearing. Li Jinsong is the eldest son of the family. To raise his family, he had gone to Shenzhen to work for 15 years and came back three years ago. He insists that the ancestral house should be preserved, regarding it as a representation of family links. Whenever there is a festival, family members gather there to have a feast, where they enjoy the red rice they grow.


DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 04: LIFE ON THE ZIPLINE IN NUJIANG

The Nujiang River originates from Jirepaige on the southern slope of the Tanggula Mountain Range. Its upper reach is called "Naqu" by Tibetans, which means the black river. It flows on to Qinatong in Gongshan County, Yunnan Province, where it is called the Nujiang River by the Chinese, and "Numigua" in the Nu language, which also means the black river. Lying between the 4000m high Bilou Mountain and the 5000m high Gaoligong Mountain, it is a 300m long valley with 40 odd degree slopes on both sides, where minority groups like the Lisus, the Nus, the Dulongs, the Bais and the Zangs settle. These peoples have developed farmlands, houses, churches and cable river crossings along the river, adapting their life to the adverse living conditions in this gorgeous valley.

There are no boats on the Nujiang River. Instead, people travel by overhead cable. In order to improve its people's life, the government of Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture is going to build a bridge across the river so that its people can reach the other side safely. The primitive cable crossings will soon become an activity for adventurous travellers only. In this programme, we are going to grasp the last chance to witness the exciting journey in which courageous villagers and their livestock glide across the surging waves to go to the market. The "cable doctor" will show us how he takes care of his patients and tell us more about the changes in village life. Two generations of blacksmiths making tailor-made metal hooks for the cable will also demonstrate how they make this important tool for everyone in the village.


DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 05: A NEW PASSAGE LEADING TO NOWHERE

Up on a soaring escarpment of the magnificent Taihang Mountain Range, 1600m above sea level, stands a well-hidden village, Guoliang. Deep in the mountain, survival requires a willpower as strong as steel. The two passages on the escarpment have brought contrasting pictures to two generations of villagers.

Guoliang Village is located at 55km northwest of Huixian, Xinxiang city, Henan. Towards the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty, people were much exploited by landlords and bureaucrats. Their life was hard. Guoliang from Taihang decided to train his troops on the nestled cliff top and started an uprising. To commemorate him, the later generations named the village after him. Without abundant resources, villagers made everything with the stone bars from Taihang, such as stone bridges, stone houses, stone tables and stone beds. The "stone village" carries the beauty of ruggedness. Villagers in the past went up and down the hill via the Sky Ladder. All daily necessities, from seasonings to livestock, were brought up the hill through this sole passage. The Sky Ladder was built in the Ming Dynasty and was expanded during the Qing's Daoguang Era. The zigzag road was carved directly on the side of the cliff. The narrowest bit is only 0.4m wide. Anyone falling off the road would be buried in the mountain. Life up the hill was difficult. Even going to school, seeing a doctor or marrying could pose much problem. Young people began to leave the village.


DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 06: THE FADING SPLENDOUR

On the bank of the lower Yellow River near Lin County, Shanxi Province, there used to be a prosperous commercial port crowded with merchants and their mules and horses. The port, featured by yaodongs, house caves, was once a principal strategic place for Shanxi businessmen. Since the River suddenly narrowed down from 500m wide to 100m, and sand as well as rocks thus accumulated, people called the place Qikou, which means the moraine mouth. Freighters of all sizes could not go on and had to unload in Qikou Town so that their goods could be transported by land. Merchant teams consisting of businessmen, camels, mules and horses would bring the goods to Taiyuan, Shanghai, Tianjin or even Beijing. Goods from the east would in turn be transported to the northwest by sea. Qikou Town became a commercial port towards the end of the Ming Dynasty. In the early years of the Republic China, there were 400-odd business establishments. It was as thriving as Shanghai and Beijing at that time. Goods like oil, salt, furs and herbs were among the commonest products. There were 30-odd companies selling sesame oil alone. As described in a folk song, "Oil can be seen everywhere in Qikou. It could flood the town in three days." However, when there is a crest, there has to be a trough. This is the cycle of history. After the 1950s, since railroads and highways were opened up, and the Yellow River flooded a lot, the town became desolate. The bells on camels and horses cannot be heard anymore. But the descendants of Shanxi businessmen are still safeguarding the River.

DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 07: HANDMADE JUNKS

International academic circles generally agree that historical events like the Sea Goddess Mazu in Fujian in the Song Dynasty, the junk building technology and Zheng He's voyage have all proven that Fujian is the cradle of maritime civilization.

The traditional junk building technology in Qihou Village in Zhangwan Town, Ningde City, Fujian, has been passed on for more than 650 years. The more than 40 builders all belong to the Liu family. They pass on their skills only to males, but not to females. They are masters and apprentices, fathers and sons, uncles and nephews.

According to the history of the Lius in Qihou Village in Zhangwan Town, the ancestor Liu Dimei left Minnan for Ningde by sea in order to escape from wars in the Ming Dynasty. After he had settled down, he began to make junks. His skills have been passed on for 26 generations. The watertight bulkhead technology of Chinese Fuchuan Junks originated in the Tang Dynasty. It is one of the greatest technologies in maritime history. The cabins inside the junk are independent and the hull is waterproof. Even if it runs against a rock by accident, only the affected cabin will be damaged and the junk will not sink. The design maximizes the safety of passengers and has been regarded as a state-level intangible cultural heritage item. It was inscribed in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2010.


DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 08: THE FLOATING VILLAGE

Fujian people live by the sea. Xiapu and Ningde in Fujian share the same latitude with Okinawa in Japan. The mild weather favours agriculture and fishery. On Sandu'ao Bay, there are hectares of fish farms. Together they make a floating town in the sea.

Located southeast of Ningde city, Sandu'ao is the gate to Fujian east. It is made up of five islets and one peninsula. Its shape is like an urn and its water is calm. It stands as a world renowned natural harbour and the only living natural spawning area of the yellow croaker in the world. The great harvest made people call the place the home of yellow croakers. The fish has been produced through artificial breeding since 1988. Other seafood like abalones have also been raised recently.

The inner sea area of Sandu'ao reaches 700 square kilometres. It houses 120,000 net cages and more than 12,000 people. Protected by the mountains at their back, the fish farms form a self-contained community, with supermarkets, shipyards, gas stations and a police station.

The day there starts with hawker boats touring around selling fresh food to different families. Children go to school by boats. While repairmen are busy with their work, a new house with three bedrooms and a living room is being installed in a fish farm. In the evening, fish farmers feed their fish. The little town passes each day in an orderly way.

The sea is mysterious and prolific. Life in the sea goes up and down like the tides. Fish farmers regard the sea as their farmland. They have to sow and nurture their crops before they harvest. People living by the sea shall always follow the rhythm of nature.


DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 09: THE JOYOUS MOUNTAIN

Along the banks of Nujiang River stand many Christian churches, which were built after western missionaries arrived in the 19th century. The Lisu people did not have a written language. To facilitate preaching the gospel to local people, British missionary James O. Fraser invented an alphabetic language for them, and the Bible they use now is written in that set of language. Christianity soon became the commonest religion among the group. Their four-part unaccompanied chorales sung in the Lisu language have become very famous as well.

Up on the hill in Fugong, children attend Sunday school and sing to God in Laomudeng Christ Church. Their voices dance around Biluo Snow Mountain and Nujiang River, turning the nearby area into a heavenly place. Every Christmas, people gather in a designated village to celebrate the festival. They sing and pray in a local church, and enjoy the food they have prepared together excitedly.

The Christians in Nujiang do not smoke or drink. When the missionaries saw that local people brewed wine with grains even when they did not have enough food, they made it a rule that Christians in Nujiang should not drink to help them solve food shortage problems and improve their health. But some people hold that villagers became Christians because they did not have money to drink.

To refrain from drinking is a big challenge Christianity poses to minority groups. But in Nujiang, Christians enjoy their religious life faithfully.


DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - HUMAN LANDSCAPE 10: THE BOAT TRACKERS

Rivers are capricious and unpredictable. At times, it is turbulent. At others, it is calm. Human beings have to overcome rivers and, at the same time, rely on rivers. In Shennongxi Stream, Badong County in Yangtze Gorges region, boat trackers have been struggling in adverse environments like shallows and cataracts with their flesh and blood for a long time.

Boat trackers are boatmen who tow boats with goods on the river. In the mountains in Badong Shennongxi live the Tu people. When there were no roads for vehicles, daily necessities were delivered to the mountains by water. Since Shennongxi Stream was narrow and crooked, and its water surged a lot, boats in were often towed by boat trackers so that they could continue their upstream journey, and this tradition has a history of more than a thousand years. Since the development of modern roads and the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in 2009 have raised the water level of the nearby area, the shallows have become rivers and boat trackers are not necessary anymore. In order to protect the tradition, villagers in Badong have formed a boat tracker team of one hundred odd members, but instead of delivering goods, they have changed their job nature to focus on tourism. When boat trackers sing out loud while they work, they would forget the fatigue and hardship of their life. It is in this way how people continue to safeguard the Yangtze river in this a new era.


DVD / 2012 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - THE RAILROAD 01: RAIL AND TRACK

'Where there is railway, there is civilization.' Railway can bring about resources, manpower and culture. It can bring about prosperity.

China is a huge country which has a length of 5500km and a width of 5200km. On this 9,600,000 sq km of land, it was the British who started building railway they built a half mile long railway in front of Xuanwu Gate in Beijing in 1865. Now, more than a century later, China has developed the 350 km/h Wuguang Railway from steam engines. Its railway system has covered a total length of about 80,000km, bringing forth numerous stations to the huge territory. The modernization of a country calls for the development of high speed railway. International definitions regard trains with a speed of more than 200km/h as high speed trains. In the next three years, China is going to develop high speed rail travelling across major municipals, provinces and cities with a budgeted project cost of 1300 billion yuan. By 2020, over 16,000 km of railways will be handling trains of over 200km/h. It is going to surpass countries with well developed railway system for decades, such as Japan, France and Germany.

China's railway network is as complicated as the veins of a leaf, sending people and goods to different places unceasingly. In remote and desolate areas, railway not only provides logistics services, it also influences the life of the locals, bringing people even from one country to another. A railway track may look simple, but it brings life to barren land, sends warmth to the chill and shines light for the poor. It spreads culture and gathers people. Culture in China takes diverse forms across space; its people live their life in various ways, and it is railway which can bring us to the ends of the land to understand and experience different culture.

In this episode, we are going to visit China Railway Museum to take a look at the oldest trains and the newest high speed rail. Our young presenters, Rannes Man, Tiffany Lee, Kay Ho, Leanne Ho and Anjaylia Chan will introduce more railway lines to us, including the northernmost railway, Nenlin Railway, the southernmost railway, Yuehai Railway, the high speed railway and trains in Taiwan, the railway with a 8.5cm difference in track widths, Ji'er Railway, the world's highest railway, Qingzang Railway and the Xinjiang Railway.


DVD / 2011 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - THE RAILROAD 02: THE NORTH END

A 20-hour ride from the northern metropolis Qiqihaer takes ones to 900km away, the northernmost railway station in China, Mohe. Mohe has a latitude of 53 degrees. It is located in Heilongjiang south, at the border of China and Russia. The "Arctic Village"there is the only place in China where the northern lights can be seen. It is also the coldest place in the country. Although Mohe county offers such a rare natural sight, it is, like other border areas, a desolate place. Only three trains come from Qiqihaer every day apart from the locals, some passengers come to try their luck to see if they can see the northern lights. How do the people live in the ice and snow there? Before the planes reached there several years ago, they all depended on the railway.

At the north end of the country, while the borderland shivers in the snow, its people strive hard to live their life. Their amazing and unique culture is not beaten by time. They deserve our praise and respect.

Intangible cultural heritage items: the Lurigele dance of the Daur in Daxinganling and Heilongjiang Nenjiang, which is the "living fossil"of the singing and dancing of the hunters in the northern area; the birch bark boat and the sierranju of the Oroqen people.


DVD / 2011 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - THE RAILROAD 03: THE WEST REGION

Some people say that only Xinjiang can help one understand how big China is. Xinjiang is in northwest China. It takes up one sixth of the country's land area. The region is ethnically diverse it is the home to 47 races, including the Uyghur, the Han, the Tajik, the Kazak, the Hui, the Mongolian and the Manchu, but it is the Uyghur who dominate. The different cultures and customs of all these races have made Xinjiang an exotic place. The railway in Xinjiang can now run from Xinjiang west to Urumqi and finally to other cities in China. In this episode, we are going to make Urumqi our starting point and reach the westernmost city in China, Tashkurgan.

Tiffany Lee takes a 24 hour ride from Urumqi to the westernmost railway station in China, Kashi. Kashi was called Shule in the past. Its written history can be dated back to more than 2000 years ago. The city is located in southwest Xinjiang, standing as an important stop of the silk road. Apart from the culture and relics of the Uyghur, one can also see the local dance there, Dolan muqam, a primitive muqam style which has not been commercialised. Although this trip has covered only southwest Xinjiang, we have already met the Han, the Uyghur and the Tajik and have a grasp of the diversity of the region. One can imagine how vast the place is.


DVD / 2011 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - THE RAILROAD 04: THE VAST INNER MONGOLIA

We often associate Inner Mongolia with the ever shining sun on the vast plain and galloping horses on the hill. But the fact is that they are not to be seen in winter, since the temperature can reach as low as minus 40 degrees at that time. In this trip we are going to look for the culture in Inner Mongolia. What kind of culture would be nurtured on this vast piece of land?

The train from Hohhot to Erenhot takes the crew 10 hours. Erenhot is China's only port to Mongolia and East Europe. It is just next to Mongolia, with a distance like the gap between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Trains arriving at this station have to change their wheels. When the weather is cold, the port seems more desert, which reminds us of the post stations in the past. The Post Station Museum not only shows us the history behind these stations, it also helps us understand the ideas behind them the establishment of post stations is not unlike the development of the Internet nowadays. In Xilinhot in the east, we can see Mongolians practising wrestling in a local vocational school. They enjoy the game and do not care about the result. This is typical Mongolian they are a generous race.

When the temperature in Alukeerqinqi in Chifeng drops and the snow begins to fall, men become part of Nature. During these days, Mongolians share what they have with each other.


DVD / 2011 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - THE RAILROAD 05: THE WORLD'S HIGHEST RAILWAY

Located on the Tibetan Plateau, southwest China, Tibet has an area of 122,000 sq km. It stands 4000m above sea level, and therefore is regarded as the ridge of the roof of the world. In early 20th century, Dr Sun Yat Sen proposed to build a railway to Lasa. But the dream to have a railway to Tibet was not realized until a century later, when the Qingzang Railway commenced service in 2006. The railway is the world's highest and longest railway built on a plateau. 965 km of the total route is built 4000m above sea level, with the peak located at Tanggula Mountain, 5072m above sea level. The Qingzang Railway is the world's longest plateau railway which runs through a permafrost area. In this episode, we are going to take the railway to Tibet to understand its culture.

The Qingzang Railway begins in Qinghai Province, where Qinghai Lake is located. The water has existed since more than 200 million years ago, and has become an inland lake due to vigourous orogeny. In the past thirty years, the change of environment has brought about a decrease in the surface area of the lake. Its annual average loss equals the size of West Lake in Hangzhou. If we do not start preserving it, it can only live in our memory in the future.

After Ge'ermu Station, the train has to climb Tanggula Mountain, 5000m above sea level. Since ordinary engines cannot provide enough power in such an alpine and anoxic region, they have to be replaced with an American engine NJ2, which is a 4000hp engine installed with electronic diesel injection system designed to work under such adverse conditions.

Having passed Tanggula Mountain, the train soon reaches Naqu, 4500m above sea level. Naqu is one of the highest towns in China. It is regarded as the ridge of the ridge of the world. In Biru County, Naqu, there is a unique sky burial site, the Skeleton Wall, in Damuer Temple. In most sky burial practices, none of the body parts should be preserved; the whole body was offered to vultures. But Damuer Temple began to keep the skull since about 130 years ago to build a skeleton wall. While the reasons behind the practice are unknown, a sky burial master once commented that using skulls to build could remind the living that no matter who we were, after we died, we were nothing.

Visiting Lasa for pilgrimage is the dream of many Tibetan people. Some of them perform kneeling prostrations every two or three steps while they go - this can take them several months or several years to reach Lasa. In the next episode, our presenter Rannes Man is going to visit the sacred land of Tibet, Lasa, to look for the treasure there.


DVD / 2011 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - THE RAILROAD 06: THE PEARL ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD

The ride on the Qingzang Railway from Naqu to Lasa takes four hours. Lasa city has a population of 500,000. It has been the political, economic, cultural and religious hub of Tibet for a long time. Early in the 7th century, Songtsan Gampo united Tibet and founded the Turpan regime. Lasa was then made the capital.

Tibetan tangka was listed as a national intangible cultural item in 2006. Although there is no record about its origin, it is known that it was very popular in the 7th century, during the Songtsan Gampo's regime. Tangka refers to religious paintings depicting fairy tales and Buddhist statues, and the New Mian Tang School is the most influential tangka stream after the 15th century. The 69-year old Tanbaramdan is the most famous tangka painter of the New Mian Tang School. His family have been court painters for four generations. His grandfather even painted for the 13th Dalai Lama. In order to pass on the art, Tanbaramdan runs his own art school in Lasa and teaches tangka for free. We are going to meet the successor to learn more about his life.

Tibetan opera was listed as a UNESCO world heritage item in 2009. The Juemulong Tibetan opera is the most profound, most influential and most popular form among all kinds of Tibetan opera. It was listed as a national intangible cultural item in 2006. Tibetan opera originated from a ceremonial dance of Tibetan Buddhism in the 7th century. It has absorbed elements from folk dance before becoming today's Tibetan opera. Many actors put of colourful masks during the performance, and different colours represent different characters. The 74-year old Tseten Dorje is the successor of Juemulong Tibetan opera at the state level. He who started learning the art at a young age was the only artist in the world who can perform the eight great classical Tibetan operas.

The Potala Palace is situated at the end of the Qingzang Railway. It was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. Located 3700m above sea level, it is the highest and most intact building complex in the world. This "Pearl on the Roof of the World", as it is often called, seems to have merged into the environment. It consists of 13 floors, having a height of 117m. It is immersed with the solemnity and beauty of Tibetan Buddhism. Potala is a Sanskrit pronunciation, meaning the residence of the Goddess of mercy. It was a luxurious palace built in the 7th century by Songtsan Gampo of the Turpan regime to marry Princess Wencheng. The tomb of the Fifth Dalai Lama inside one of the shrines is 12.6m tall. It is made of gold of 3721kg. It is coated with gold and inlaid with thousands of precious stones. The sandalwood Guanyin statue in the Hall of the Goddess of Mercy, i.e. Guanyin, is another valuable item in the Palace. It is believed to be made of natural wood and to have come from India by itself. We are going to visit the Potala Palace to understand more about the history, architecture, religion and culture of Tibet.

We often say culture influences man. But in Tibet, religion influences culture.


DVD / 2011 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - THE RAILROAD 07: THE SOUTHERN SEA

Hainan is located at the South China Sea, with a coastline of 1580m and an area of 35,400 sq km. It is the southernmost part of China. Since the place has no winter at all, it is regarded as "Hawaii of the East." The Yuehai Railway commenced service in December 2004, bringing Hainan into China's railway network. The country's first trans-sea railway comprises two railways and a train ferry, running from Zhanjiang to Hai'an in Guangdong, across Qiongzhou Strait and finally along Hainan west to Sanya. It has a total distance of 1157km, bringing passengers to the southernmost part of the country.

Sanya is situated in the southern part of Hainan, the end of the country. It used to be a place where condemned officers were sent to and they felt like being exiled to the remotest corner of the earth. But the ancestors of the Li gave up their life as boatmen when they reached this beautiful island and settled themselves in Hainan. To look at the island from the sea, Hainan is a paradise, but to look out from the land, it is the end of the earth.

Echa Village has a history of about 1000 years. This living museum of the Li is the largest, oldest and the best preserved village of the ethnic minority in Hainan. There one can see boat-shaped houses and old women with traditional facial tattoos. Knowing that Echa is going to be relocated two or three months later, people from different places have come to this old village to celebrate Shanlan Festival (New Year of Li) and have the last reunion dinner. The bustle and hustle is going to be part of the history.


DVD / 2011 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - THE RAILROAD 08: WORDS OF THE WOOD

The Taiwan High Speed Rail offers beautiful scenery. Riding on the train, one just feels like reading albums extensively. The railway commenced service in 2007. It could travel from north to south of Taiwan in 96 minutes, standing as a fast western corridor in the territory. The Southern Link Line of the Taiwan Railways commenced service in 1992. It travels through mountains and along the Pacific Ocean. Passengers can enjoy the vast and primitive scenery of nature on the journey. The Alishan Forest Railway rises from an elevation of only 30 meters above sea level to a height of 2274 meters. It will reach 100 years old in 2012. Unfortunately, several sections of the railway were damaged by typhoon Morakot in August 2009. Now, only Sacred Tree Line and Zhushan Line are running. The three generations of railways have witnessed the passage of time. They, like all the culture, are striving hard to innovate and survive.

In this episode, we are going to listen to the words of the wood. The railways shall show us how wood is turned into puppets to perform glove puppetry, how driftwood records the history of indigenous tribes, and how sacred trees in Alishan symbolize the conservation of forests. The artists we visit not only preserve their culture, they also pass it on so that the future generations can go on pursuing virtues for a better tomorrow. Culture and tradition are always connected to life, as they always originate from nature.


DVD / 2011 / 30 minutes

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CULTURAL HERITAGE - THE RAILROAD 09: DWELLING IN THE HILLS AND WATERS

Spring is time for rebirth. The hills and waters in Guangxi is particularly picturesque in this season. This famous tourist destination is noted for its natural beauty. People living in the hills have developed unique wisdom to facilitate their daily life. Dong people live in Sanjiang County in Liuzhou north. They are believed to be descended from the ancient Yue people and have a history of more than 2500 years. The Dong often live in the foot of the hills, near rivers. Their settlement is characterised by the Wind and Rain Bridges. Although the bridge may look simple and plain, it is like a guardian at the estuary, providing shelter for the villagers.

The Dong can construct buildings in a delicate way. They are so clever that they can build without using a single nail. "The construction technique of Dong Minority's wooden structure building" is listed as a state-level intangible cultural heritage item. Its successor Mr Yang Siyu can build with a "Carpenter's rod" and several bamboo slips marked with the Dong's architectural symbols representing the measurements of different parts. The Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge was built in 1916. This great structure was built by Mr Yang's grandfather. The grandson regards it as his own bridge. Whenever he finds any damage, he would go up and repair it himself.

Dong people are very united and hospitable. They often serve their guests with 100 Banquet, where each family offers a character dish and everyone eats together at the front of the drum tower. On the fifth day of the second month in the lunar calendar every year, a large scale temple fair is held in the Sanwang Palace in Liangkou Township. Each village should send a representative to invite the three Kings to visit the villages with the procession to expel devils and bring them peace. Dong's festive activities can help unite people of the tribe and pass on history and culture.

Liuzhou is an industrial city. Some of the factories have set up small scale railway system for freight transportation. In Zhayan Station, we can find a humble steam locomotive manufactured in 1975 transporting chemicals for a company every day. However, the environmental policies in Liuzhou are going to get rid of these nostalgic trains soon.

Located in Guangxi south, Dongxing houses China's only marine ethnic group, the Jing. The Jing's single string instrument has a history of 400 years. Its successor Mr Su Chunfa can show his passion with one single string: when he plays in front of the sea, one shall be absorbed by the simplicity and expressiveness of his music. He often plays by the sea so that the fellow seamen can identify the way home.

Guangxi is a good place with great people. Though the men living in the hills and sea do not share the same culture, they have the same good and honest nature.


DVD / 2011 / 30 minutes

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