On Screen
Published: Sep 01, 2022 07:32 PM
Promotional material for The  Mystery of China Photo: Courtesy of Youku

Promotional material for The Mystery of China Photo: Courtesy of Youku

New culture reality show highlights 'The Mystery of China'

From the Sanxingdui Ruins, one of the greatest discoveries of the ancient Shu culture, to the Nanhai No.1 shipwreck from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), a milestone discovery for Chinese underwater archaeology, numerous finds have been telling us more about China's past and the history of humanity. Now a new culture reality show, The Mystery of China, has just been aired on Chinese streaming site Youku and Henan TV to tell the stories of six of these cultural treasures, from Friday. 

Starring Chen Kun and Xu Danrui as guest hosts, the show will not only visit archaeological sites, and find interesting stories hidden in the museums, but also ask questions to culture scholars and archaeologists to help audiences gain a better and deeper understanding of these cultural treasures. 

According to Li Bing, the show's producer, "who we are" and "where we come from" are key questions on the route to "finding our cultural genes." 

"We hope to record the glorious moments of our more than 5,000-year-long history. That is our intention behind the show," said Li. 

The show visited some of China's most well-known cultural sites like the Mogao Grottoes and the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, approaching them from different angles. 

How to introduce these cultural sites in the best way possible was something that the producing team had troubles with. 

"Chinese history is so long that if we follow chronological order, then we would have to start with the Xia (c.2070 BC-c.1600BC), Shang (c.1600BC-1046BC) and Zhou (1046BC-256BC) dynasties or even earlier," Li told the Global Times, "which is impossible."

Integrating traditional Chinese animation with narrative storytelling, this makes for an all-round audio and visualization upgrade.

Among the stories that the show is about to unveil, the story of the Nanhai No.1 shipwreck is probably the most fascinating. According to archaeologists, the ship was originally built during the Song Dynasty. Now preserved at the Guangdong Maritime Silk Road Museum, it contained numerous porcelains, iron wares and copper coins, making it a valuable resource for the study of the Maritime Silk Road.

Global Times