The power of the written word has long been recognized by humankind, and throughout history, books have played a crucial role in shaping our understanding of the world around us. From the earliest manuscripts to modern-day publications, each text holds a wealth of knowledge and insights into the past.
The documentary "Ancient Books Through Time" takes viewers on a fascinating journey through the ages, exploring the evolution of the written word and uncovering the secrets that lie within some of the ancient Chinese books. Through a combination of expert analysis, stunning visuals, and compelling storytelling, this documentary offers a rare glimpse into the past, illuminating the extraordinary impact of books on human history.
The documentary "Ancient Books Through Time" shows us in the most convincing way that ancient books come through time and can also be integrated into our lives.
1 Vivid life in the ancient books
Everyone's life is always inseparable from food, clothing, housing, and transportation, and it was the same in ancient China. Let's start with food and clothing, and learn how the ancient people lived from the ancient Chinese books.
If we travel back to the Song Dynasty, we should not have to worry that we will not be satisfied with the food. The ingredients, eating habits, and cooking methods in the Song Dynasty are very close to those of today.
Many ancient books from the Song Dynasty have recorded recipes. Crab (螃蟹), for example, increased dramatically in value because of its various unique preparations. Su Shi loved dregs crab, and Zhao Gou, the Emperor Gaozong of Song loved Xi Shou crab (洗手蟹, means that this dish is very simple to make, and it only takes about as long as it takes to wash your hands.).
The most classic of all is Crab Stuffed Orange, which is a recipe recovered from an ancient Chinese books.
First, the orange pulp is scooped out with a spoon and made into an orange urn.
Then the steamed crab is removed from the crab meat and crab roe and seasoned with yellow wine, vinegar and orange juice.
Stir well and stuff into the orange urn and continue steaming on the pot.
Turning the words in ancient books into actual food allows us to feel the mood of ancient people more concretely. We can feel the real life hidden in the food, and also feel the warmth and elegance with which they faced life.
Then let us feel the exquisite life of the ancients through the restoration of ancient hanfu costumes. Besides financial considerations, they subconsciously believe that ancient people's dress is ugly and does not meet modern aesthetics. But Chen Shiyu, a costume historian of ancient hanfu costume examination and restoration, has his insistence.
Chen Shiyu was involved in the examination of the dress part of the TV series "Serenade of Peaceful Joy". Ninety percent of Empress Cao's wedding costume, from the headdress, the earrings, the costume, to the makeup, was copied from the "Seated Portrait of Emperor Song Renzong" now collected in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
By consulting a large number of ancient books, constantly comparing and improving, we were able to bring back the original glory of the silent images in the books of the past, and to let us know that the skills and aesthetics of the ancients were so brilliant!
2 Thriving traditional culture
The directors of the documentary "Ancient Books Through Time", Ye Shen and Luo Yingluan, had previously made the hit documentary "And Yet, The Books". But the difference is that this time, the focus on ancient Chinese books, and the director team is also a lot of effort, respectively, in the form of nine units set, in different themes, to show us the meaning of ancient books through time.
From daily food and clothing to creative posters, from genealogical archives to the restoration of cultural relics, each episode is only 12 minutes long, but like a seed, the idea of paying attention to ancient books is planted in the heart of every viewer.
For example, the cross-border artist Zhang Yu in the documentary, if you are not familiar with her, I believe you must have seen her work.
The Chinese-style posters of "The Wandering Earth 2", as well as the posters of dramas and films such as "Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain", "Dahufa" and "Legend of Fei".
And the music video of the title song of the hit drama "The Story of Minglan", the ink dots swirl away, and an ink and oil painting haloes out beautifully. All these come from the ink painting painted by Zhang Yu.
The reason for the high recognition of these works is that Zhang Yu often uses ancient books as the blueprint for her paintings. "Lin Chuan Si Meng" and "Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio" are the ancient books that Zhang Yu often reads. She not only creates posters for films and dramas, but also uses her brush to restore the stories in the ancient Chinese books.
There is also independent font designer Ying Yonghui, who designs fonts with ancient books as the master. During the past ten years, he has designed a variety of fonts such as Zhejiang Folk Book Engraving Style, Song Dynasty Zhejiang Style, and Bozhou Small Regular Script. Later, he resigned to focus on font design, and even if his income is not much, it does not prevent him from devoting himself to it.
They helped the ancient books to come to the real world, and the ancient books let them see the world in a different kind of wonderful way.
3 Guarding the ancient civilization
"Ancient Books Through Time" not only shows us the lives of ancient people and the mutual achievements of the past and the present, but what touches the audience is the group of people who work tirelessly and bury their heads in the ancient books.
But after the baptism of history, ancient books are fragile. Take the Dunhuang Scrolls, for example. More than seventy thousand numbered Dunhuang documents are scattered in libraries and museums around the world, and more than ninety percent of them are in disrepair.
Professor Zhang Yongquan's team at Zhejiang University, who has been working with Dunhuang documents for more than thirty years, has worked a day in and day out for thirty years to reassemble the scattered and fragmented Dunhuang fragments from around the world into readable and researchable documents.
It was a huge and complicated job, they had to find out the missing parts, then determine the number of missing pieces, and then go through the many fragments and put them together. According to the recollection of the sub-episode director Zhang Ting, during the shooting of the documentary, Professor Zhang asked the most about how much longer it would take to shoot.
It turns out that the old professors are still in a race against time for the restoration of these ancient books. But because of their persistence, thousands of ancient book fragments became completed, taking a difficult step forward for the development of Chinese and even world civilization.
Without ancient books, we would not know "where I come from", and how we treat them reflects how we treat our own history and culture. It is not only the duty of the antiquarians to cherish the history that remains, but also the duty of every one of us, because they will eventually be connected to our lives, just like the bloodline transmission.