Segments in this Video

China's Yellow Earth (01:52)


Chinese have cultivated the yellow earth on the Loess Plateau for centuries. This apparently barren soil cultivates richly with water.

Bingmayong's Terra Cotta Warriors (01:48)

An army of 8,000 terra cotta warriors is uncovered at Bingmayong, each having its own face. They are thought to be exact replicas of Emperor Shi Huangdi's army to protect them in the afterworld.

Shi Huangdi's Armory (03:08)

Underground ruins of an armory are discovered in 1998 containing over 5,000 armored suits made of up to 612 polished stone plates held together with bronze chains. Stone plates do not rot when buried.

Excavation of Yinxu (01:33)

The ancient Xia and Yin Dynasties thrive on the Yellow River. In 1928 Yinxu, the capital of the Yin Dynasty, is excavated at Anyang uncovering kings' tombs dating back to the fifteenth century B.C.

Computers Reconstruct Yinxu (03:52)

Yinxu is buried after excavation. Computer animation reconstructs the area using data from the excavation. Eleven kings' tombs are dug into the earth like colossal reversed pyramids.

Artifacts Reveal Ancient Environment (02:47)

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences contains Yinxu excavated artifacts and gives clues to the environment during the Yin dynasty. It contains bones from animals that used to live there.

Yin Dynasty's Lush Environment (03:26)

The yellow earth region is green with forests and grassland during the Yin dynasty. Today only one area is forested, preserved by Huangdi Ling's dynasty who forbade cutting down trees there.

Building Walls with the Yellow Earth (03:24)

The Chinese cut down forests for farmland. They build stone walls around their land with an ancient hammering device called a Banzhu. The yellow earth becomes very hard and is perfect for walls.

Yin and Qiang at War (02:36)

The Yin build walls around their city to keep out their enemy, the Qiang. A grave site reveals the Yin sacrifice the Qiang and decapitate them to keep them from rising up from the underworld.

Yin Overcome the Qiang (03:34)

Bronze weapons give the Yin an advantage over the Qiang, whom they eventually overthrow. Descendants of the Qiang are still sheep herders who maintain their own language and calendar.

Tales of the Qiang, Riches of the Yin (04:29)

The Qiang tell ancient tales of demons attacking their village and stealing their livestock. They eventually find fertile new land. The Yin go on to become a magnificent bronze-age empire.

Amazing Yellow Earth of Loess (03:18)

The Yin build bronze items from molds formed from the Loess. The earth softens when wet, hardens when dry, and can withstand great temperatures.

Power of Bronze in Yin Dynasty (04:04)

Yin kings use bronze wear as an intermediary to pray to the gods. The Yin create intricate bronze items like Jues and Sigongs. Bronze objects increase the authority of the king.

Extent of China's Bronze Culture (03:30)

The bronze culture spreads south to the Yangzi River basin. Identical bronze pieces are found in both the Yinxu and the Sanxingdui cultures.

China's Age of Upheaval (02:56)

Bronze objects contain memories of the ancient forests and the daily lives of people. As rival warlords compete for power, China is thrown into upheaval which continues for 550 years.

Shi Huangdi and the Iron Age (02:44)

Emperor Shi Huangdi unites China with the advent of iron. Huangdi involves the kingdom in the production of ironware, from weapons to farming tools. Lumber production becomes a viable trade.

Shi Huangdi's Dam (03:30)

Shi Huangdi builds a huge dam which forms a lake, creating rich agricultural land. Upon controlling the river and uniting China, Shi Huangdi positions himself among the ranks of the gods.

China Hopes for a New Forest (03:31)

The ancient forests are cut down to support China's growing population. Today's people live in harmony with nature and are trying to re-forest the land, but it will take time with the dry climate.

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China: Heritage of the Wild Dragon

Part of the Series : Messages from the Past: Reassessing Ancient Civilizations
DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The fine loess soil of the Yellow River basin quickly established that region as the home of China’s earliest recorded dynasty. This program focuses primarily on Bronze Age China and the contributions of the Yin (or Shang) dynasty, with a tangential emphasis on the reign of the Qins. Commentary by Tang Jigen, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and other experts; archival film of the excavation of Yinxu; armor and artifacts from the tomb of Qin Shihuangdi; footage of loess being used to replicate intricate Yin-era bronzes; and incredible 3-D computer animation provide penetrating insights into the history of ancient China. (59 minutes)

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL11656

ISBN: 978-0-7365-5879-2

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

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