Colorful cultures along China's 'Mother River' glitter with thorough studies, creative promotions
Published: Nov 10, 2022 11:35 PM
Oracle bone inscriptions unearthed at the Yin Ruins Photo: Courtesy of Henan TV

Oracle bone inscriptions unearthed at the Yin Ruins Photo: Courtesy of Henan TV

Who created the earliest known Chinese characters? When were they created? And what were oracle bones used for?

Chinese actor Chen Kun and the host, with these questions in mind, visited the Yinxu Ruins in Anyang, Henan to explore the history of the birth of Chinese characters, which have helped record the Chinese civilization for thousands of years.

Through visiting the ruins to learn about the cultural relics and talking with researchers, the celebrities had many burning questions answered while learning about Yinxu, or the Yin Ruins, in turn unearthing other gaps in information that need to be filled through further research.This is the content of the educational documentary The Mystery of China, recently broadcasted on TV and online.

The show, co-produced by Henan TV and streaming platform Youku, has garnered a large audience, whose interest in ancient cultures and heritages was also sparked.

"We would like to help transport the audience to the past, to witness the Chinese civilization's milestones, and unearth the beautiful cultures behind the discovered cultural relics," Yang Lun, the producer of the documentary from Henan TV told the Global Times.

According to archeological finds and historical documentation, the 3,300-year-old Yin Ruins were the primary location of the late Shang (Yin) Dynasty (1600-1046 BC), the first such confirmed ruins in Chinese history. 

Oracle bone inscriptions unearthed at the Yin Ruins have helped preserve 3,000-year-old Chinese written language proving historical Chinese records existed 1,000 years earlier than previously believed.

The Yin Ruins in Henan are just one illustration of cultural heritage discovery and study in the Yellow River basin.

Present-day cultural and touristic festivals held along the Yellow River basin's numerous provinces are invaluable tools to further discover and understand the Yellow River's cultural significance. 

Originating in Qinghai Province, the Yellow River, known as China's "Mother River" and the cradle of Chinese civilization, runs through nine provinces and autonomous regions including Shaanxi and Henan before emptying into the Bohai Sea in East China's Shandong Province.

For over a million years, the Yellow River has birthed numerous cultures, and through various archeological findings, it is not only the birthplace of Chinese civilization, but is a source of the cohesive variety found in Chinese culture. 

"The drainage area of the Yellow River lays the foundation for the 5,000-year-old Chinese civilization. The culture and civilization of the river are the roots of the Chinese nation," Liu Qingzhu, an expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.