The Silk Road

The Silk Road - Episode 11

50 minutes 7.30/10 based on 27 votes

Where Horses Fly Like the Wind

On the Kazakhs of the Northern Tien Shan. Views of horses and sheep in mountain pastures. The oasis city of Hami, famous from early times for its melons. Interesting scene of salt production. At Hami, the “Silk Road” branches, one route going south of the Tien Shan to Turfan, Korla and Kucha; the other north to Lake Barkol.

Han armies pursued Huns as far as Barkol. Interesting views of hospitality in a yurt, including ceremony of serving a sheep’s head. Shows milking a mare, and discusses the importance of mare’s milk in diet, but does not explain adequately processing of milk products. Interspersed with views of current nomadic life are historical references and quotations regarding the nomads from the early Chinese histories. Even in this region Han-era signal towers, which were manned by thousands of soldiers. Stress on fact that it was here the Han emperor sought the “heavenly horses” for his armies. Script errs in saying Chingis Khan led “Golden Horde” through here (Golden Horde is the common designation for the western part of the Mongol empire which came into being only after his death).

Legend of Prince Mu meeting the Queen Mother of the West (Xi Wang Mu) in Tienshi Lake. Interesting footage of Kazakh wedding; several scenes with music. September market at L. Tsaidam when nomads begin to descend from their summer pastures. Stress on new prosperity, availability of manufactured goods, and ethnic diversity (“races”). Ends with problematic assertion that sedentary agriculturalists change, but way of life of nomads never does (=part of the “romance” of the Silk Road). The expedition unable to cross border into USSR near where Ili River enters Kazakhstan.


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7.30/10 (27 votes)
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Discuss This Documentary

3 responses to “The Silk Road”

  1. zarko says:

    WOW!! this documentaru i watched when i was a child with macedonian translation on (then) state TV. ITS GREAT!! maiby it will look old now but the documnetrau worthe every minute of your time!! RECOMEND

  2. Jim says:

    This is quite wonderful. I can remember watching as a young man in Scotland and being spellbound. It has lost none of its magic. A masterpiece.

  3. wmac says:

    I also watched it as a kid. Kitaro’s silk road music still brings me to dreams…. I loved the series then…

    This series used to be played in Iran (with Persian translation)…

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