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A Buddhist Kingdom Beneath the Sands 01

This is another of the excellent historical and archaeological documentaries made by Chinese TV, to add to the numbers of similarly themed films I have presented on this site over the years.

This one is a 2-part exploration of the ancient kingdom of Kucha which lay along the Silk Roads in Central Asia, which was on and off a part of the larger Han Empire, and sometimes an independent kingdom in its own right.

In the first film we find out how this ancient kingdom was rediscovered in modern times, something of its significance, and then have a life history of one of its most famous sons: Kumārajīva, the great translator from Sanskrit into Chinese.

The history of this kingdom goes back into the centuries before the common era, and in the second film we get more information on the historic ups and downs of the kingdom until it disappeared after conquest in the 8th century.

The latter half of this section looks at the magnificent Kizil Caves, a large Hīnayāna Buddhist grotto built in Kucha, and also explores how the traditions of this kingdom have survived into the present in music and dance.

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