How did an Indian Buddhist shrine influence a Japanese pagoda? How are Italian pigs and cowry shells related to porcelain? These intriguing questions are investigated in Artifacts, a series that explores the origins and hidden connections among the art and artifacts of the great cultures and belief systems across Asia to understand the impact of calligraphy, porcelain, architecture, metallurgy, wood block printing and silk on Asian history and on the history of the world in general. Episode 6 Silk The Thread Connecting East and West – This amazing fabric has captivated human imagination for over 2000 years. Throughout history, it has clothed the rich and powerful. But more than this, it has been a form of currency, a tool of diplomacy, a badge of rank, and a fabric of the divine.
Japan blossomed into its Renaissance at approximately the same time as Europe. Unlike the West, it flourished not through conquest and exploration, but by fierce and defiant isolation. And the man at the heart of this empire was Tokugawa Ieyasu, a warlord who ruled with absolute control. This period is explored through myriad voices the Shogun, the Samurai, the Geisha, the poet, the peasant and the Westerner who glimpsed into this secret world. Episode 3 The Return of the Barbarians – Isolated from the West, 18th century Edo flourishes culturally and economically, becoming one of the liveliest cities in the world. But foreign forces are coming.
The world is an unequal and unjust place, in which some are born into wealth and some into hunger and misery. To explore why the young Swedish writer Johan Norberg takes the viewers on a journey to Taiwan, Vietnam, Kenya and Brussels to see the impact of globalisation, and the consequences of its absence. It makes the case that the problem in the world is not too much capitalism, globalisation and multinationals, but too little. Does globalisation create a race to the bottom, or to the top? “Globalisation is good” tells a tale of two countries that were equally poor 50 years ago, Taiwan and Kenya. Today Taiwan is 20 times richer than Kenya. We meet the farmers and entrepreneurs that could develop Taiwan because it introduced a market economy and integrated into global trade. And we meet the Kenyan farmers and slum dwellers that are still desperately poor, because Kenya shut its door to globalisation.
They attack their victims with great strength and speed, using even chemical weapons. To avoid their enemies they can run over the water, throw him blood or poison or just become one with their environment and disappear. They attract their mate giving an extraordinary show of colors and movements and they have superhero abilities as they fly and use X-rays to see. Today’s reptiles are as deadly as dinosaurs, as beautiful as birds and as tender as mammals. Their look is so ancient that it is hard to believe that these animals are true! Episode 1 Ruling Reptiles – The extinction of the dinosaurs left a power vacuum. Enter the dragons: powerful modern reptiles which still dominate large areas of our planet. Ruling Reptiles goes in search of the modern reptiles that have inherited the dominant role.
Series in which intrepid presenter Kate Humble follows the ancient frankincense trade route of Arabia across the amazing modern world of the Middle East. Kate’s journey along the 2,000 mile trail that first connected the Arab world with the West takes her on a quest that’s steeped in history, searing with desert heat, and full of characters and adventure. For 3,000 years before the birth of Christ, frankincense was more valuable than gold. Its sweet smelling aromatic smoke was treasured by Pharaohs and Caesars, and their insatiable demand for frankincense created a trade route from the southern coast of Oman to the Holy Lands. Vast camel caravans carried thousands of tonnes of frankincense over tribal lands – known today as Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine.
On Easter Day 1722, Dutch explorers landed on Easter Island. A civilisation isolated by 4,000 km of Pacific Ocean was about to meet the outside world for the first time in centuries. The strangers were about to find something very strange themselves, an island dotted with hundreds of huge stone statues and a society that was not as primitive as they expected. The first meeting was an immense clash of cultures. (Bloody too: the sailors killed ten natives within minutes of landing.) Where had the Islanders originally come from? Why and how had they built the figures?
In China, there exists an astonishing place. A burial ground to rival Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. In 221 B.C., China’s first Emperor united warring kingdoms into a nation that still exists today. To memorialise this achievement, he bankrupted the national treasury and oppressed thousands of workers to build one of the world’s biggest mortuary complexes. China’s second dynasty, the Han, inherited the daunting challenge of building larger tombs to command respect and establish their right to rule without running the nation into the ground. Although no Han emperor’s tomb has been opened, the tombs of lesser Han aristocrats have revealed astonishing things and at least one corpse so amazingly well preserved some believe Han tomb builders knew how to “engineer immortality”.
Each turning point in history has behind it a story and a set of principal characters whose dilemmas and conflicts form its dramatic core, and whose unique personalities influenced the outcome of events. History’s Turning Points provides a fascinating and intriguing new perspective on the significant moments that have changed the world. The Great Wall of China – 221 B.C. To seal off his empire from marauders, Chin commanded the building of the Great Wall. Three hundred thousand were employed, and thousands, especially the scholars, died and were buried within the wall. Called “the world’s longest graveyard”, it was his greatest accomplishment and his greatest tragedy.
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations combines cutting edge digital effects technology (for 1995) with powerful dramatization. Dazzling spectacles re-create rituals and events, original location cinematography in 25 countries. Computer graphics make lost worlds live again! Episode 10 Tibet The End of Time – Follow the tale of glory and tragedy as a young boy, the reincarnation of the Tibetan God-King, witnesses the collapse of a timeless culture. This episode explores a genuine Shangri-La and its struggle to survive in a hostile contemporary world.
In The Ascent of Money Niall Ferguson traces the evolution of money and demonstrates that financial history is the essential back story behind all history. By learning how societies have continually created and survived financial crises, we can find solid solutions to today’s worldwide economic emergency. As he traverses historic financial hot spots around the world, Ferguson illuminates fundamental economic concepts and speaks with leading experts in the financial world. Episode 4 Risky Business – Life is a risky business which is why people take out insurance. But faced with an unexpected disaster, the state has to step in. Professor Ferguson travels to post Katrina New Orleans to ask why the free market can’t provide some of the adequate protection against catastrophe. His quest for an answer takes him to the origins of modern insurance in the early 19th century and to the birth of the welfare state in post war Japan.
Jungles are the world’s powerhouses, the most vital habitats on the planet. They only cover 6% of the Earth, but they contain more than half of its plant and animal species living in a complex web of relationships. Without jungles, the planet would grind to a halt. The jungles of the world are all very different. Charlotte takes a close look at the animals inhabiting the jungles, highlighting how they have adapted to survive the challenging conditions. Episode 1 Canopyworld – In the first episode of Jungle, get up close and explore the forest canopy. The high frontier of the forest canopy is one of the least known and least seen habitats on Earth, but it has the greatest concentration of life on the planet. In the jungles of Borneo where the trees are the tallest, Charlotte discovers what it’s like to live 200 feet above the ground in a complex three dimensional world, where one slip could be fatal!
A small but highly efficient killing machine: a hornet two inches long and with a wingspan up to three inches lurks in the mountains of Japan. The voracious predator has a quarter inch stinger that pumps out a dose of venom with an enzyme so strong it can dissolve human tissue. Bees, other hornet species, and larger insects such as praying mantises are no match for the giant hornets, which often stalk their prey in relentless armies. Just one of these hornets can kill 40 European honeybees a minute, a handful of the creatures can slaughter 30,000 European honeybees within hours, leaving a trail of severed insect heads and limbs. People are not the Japanese giant hornet’s usual prey, but those who have felt its sting describe the pain as excruciating. Masato Ono, an entomologist at Tamagawa University, near Tokyo, said it’s “like a hot nail through my leg.” Someone who is stung by the hornet and doesn’t receive proper treatment soon thereafter can die from the venom, which is powerful enough to disintegrate human flesh. About 40 people die each year after being stung by giant hornets, mainly as a result of an allergic reaction to the venom.
They attack their victims with great strength and speed, using even chemical weapons. To avoid their enemies they can run over the water, throw him blood or poison or just become one with their environment and disappear. They attract their mate giving an extraordinary show of colors and movements and they have superhero abilities as they fly and use X-rays to see. Today’s reptiles are as deadly as dinosaurs, as beautiful as birds and as tender as mammals. Their look is so ancient that it is hard to believe that these animals are true! Episode 2 Smart Reptiles – The second programme focuses on the amazing natural technology that makes reptiles such a successful group. Are reptiles the biotechnology wizards of the animal world? If you count sprinting on water, shooting blood from the eyes, spitting poison at their enemies, navigating by magnetic fields, converting ribs into a hangglider, or communicating emotions in colour then, yes, they are!
Actor and writer Rupert Everett takes a revealing and witty journey, retracing the steps of one of his great heroes the infamous author, Victorian explorer and sexual adventurer, Sir Richard Burton. Labelled “Dirty Dick”, in part for his translations of the Kama Sutra and The Arabian Nights, to others Burton was a pioneer, bringing new cultural ideas of sex and religion from the East to the West.
Each half hour episode looks at a major fighting people or force and charts the reasons for their rise to dominance and subsequent fall. The show explores the motivations of ancient soldiers, as well as how they lived, fought, trained, died, and changed the world. It also uses battle re-enactments and computer graphics to demonstrate military strategy. This series from the Discovery Channel is especially good for the lesser known groups of warriors. Episode 16 The Samurai – A strict code of unquestioning loyalty characterizes the samurai. In the year 1160 Japan’s two greatest clans fought a war of annihilation. The leader of the Taira clan gathered his soldiers to hunt down his bitter rival the Minamoto. Few of the Minamoto survived, not even their chief. His young sons escaped and they swore to take up the sword and avenge their father. They would follow the path of honor or death, the way of the Samurai.
Each turning point in history has behind it a story and a set of principal characters whose dilemmas and conflicts form its dramatic core, and whose unique personalities influenced the outcome of events. History’s Turning Points provides a fascinating and intriguing new perspective on the significant moments that have changed the world. The Incredible March – Mao turns defeat into victory and Chinese communism is born. Mao Tse – tung, the leader of China’s Communist First Front Army flees the forces of his arch enemy, the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai Shek. Mao and his one hundred thousand strong peasant army battle against the Nationalists and nature itself, fleeing over 6000 miles through 12 provinces over 18 mountain ranges and across 24 rivers in an epic test of human endurance.
The program covered the phenomena of unidentified flying and submerged objects, close encounters with alleged extraterrestrial life, and alleged military and government cover up conspiracies. Episode 16 China’s Roswell – Legends from China tell of 716 mysterious stone discs, known as “The Dropa Stones”, 12 inch disc with a double spiral of tiny hieroglyphs that are said to contain the historical record of an alien race called the Dropa that crash landed in an isolated region of China 12,000 years ago.
In The Ascent of Money Niall Ferguson traces the evolution of money and demonstrates that financial history is the essential back story behind all history. By learning how societies have continually created and survived financial crises, we can find solid solutions to today’s worldwide economic emergency. As he traverses historic financial hot spots around the world, Ferguson illuminates fundamental economic concepts and speaks with leading experts in the financial world. Episode 6 Chimerica – Niall Ferguson investigates the globalisation of the Western economy and the uncertain balance between the important component countries of China and the US. In examining the last time globalisation took hold, before World War One, he finds a notable reversal, namely that today money is pouring into the English speaking economies from the developing world, rather than out.
As the world approaches the 21st century, this new series hosted by Michael Woods and produced in 1991, reminds us that other nations and cultures prospered for hundreds or even thousands of years. Now all that remains is the legacy of their civilizations, present and influential in our own. Shot on location on four continents, Legacy takes a different viewpoint from other series that concentrate primarily on the the Western view of history. Visiting China, India, Egypt, the Middle East, Greece and Meso-America, this series traces the rise of both Asian and western civilization. India The Empire of the Spirit – Ancient India is with us today in the living tradition of the Hindu religion, the basis of Indian culture. The traditions that are honored by millions of Hindus in the present were born in the Indus valley 5,000 years ago.
Spirituality is big business in Kerala, fueled by the planeloads of tourists who come to India’s south western coast in search of enlightenment. In this documentary, Jenny looks into the activities of Kerala’s “godmen” gurus who claim to be living gods, and asks whether they are exploiting their power over their vulnerable devotees.
They attack their victims with great strength and speed, using even chemical weapons. To avoid their enemies they can run over the water, throw him blood or poison or just become one with their environment and disappear. They attract their mate giving an extraordinary show of colors and movements and they have superhero abilities as they fly and use X-rays to see. Today’s reptiles are as deadly as dinosaurs, as beautiful as birds and as tender as mammals. Their look is so ancient that it is hard to believe that these animals are true! Episode 3 Future Reptiles – Alligators on golf courses, geckos in hotels, chameleons in the garden and pampered pet pythons, reptiles are invading our space! So what will the future role for these living cousins of the dinosaurs be? Will reptiles give us better biotechnology and medicines?
The world’s largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is now as well known across the globe for its mastery of computer technology as it is for its many armed gods and its famous spiritual traditions. But India is also the world’s most ancient surviving civilization, with unbroken continuity back into prehistory. Like other great civilizations – Greece or Egypt for example, over the millennia it has enjoyed not just one but several brilliant golden ages in art and culture. Episode 1 Beginnings – Through ancient manuscripts and oral tales Wood charts the first human migrations out of Africa. He travels from the tropical backwaters of South India through lost ancient cities in Pakistan to the vibrant landscapes of the Ganges plain. Wood also attempts to re-create soma, an ancient drink recorded in the Rig Veda.
1979 British television documentary written and presented by the Australian journalist John Pilger. The film recounts the bombing of Cambodia by the United States in 1970 during the Vietnam War, the subsequent brutality and genocide that occurred when Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge militia took over, the poverty and suffering of the people, and the limited aid since given by the West. Viewers were so moved by the plight of the people that they donated 45 million to the station in aid. President Nixon and Mr. Kissinger unleashed 100,000 tons of bombs, the equivalent of 5 Hiroshimas. John Pilger vividly reveals the brutality and murderous political ambitions of the Pol Pot/Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime which bought genocide and despair to the people of Cambodia .
Each half hour episode looks at a major fighting people or force and charts the reasons for their rise to dominance and subsequent fall. The show explores the motivations of ancient soldiers, as well as how they lived, fought, trained, died, and changed the world. It also uses battle re-enactments and computer graphics to demonstrate military strategy. This series from the Discovery Channel is especially good for the lesser known groups of warriors. Episode 17 Shaolin Monks – The Shaolin pattern their martial arts on animal motion. In the year 621 China was ruled by chaos. Warlord fought warlord, no one was safe, not even the emperor. His estates were seized, his subjects murdered, and his son taken hostage. A peasant found the princes imperial seal and took it to a monastery nearby. The monks resolved to find the wicked warlord and rescue the emperors son. For despite their peaceful manner, they knew a hundred ways to kill a man. They were the shaolin masters of the deadly art of kung fu.