LH27560381
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 "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 C 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
25 minutes
2016
 
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