Albert Von Le Coq, Adventure in Turpan


This is another in the Chinese TV series, Century-Old Adventure Diaries, about European Explorers along the Silk Road in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This week it looks at the jouneys made by Albert Von Le Coq, a German Archeologist, who made most of his excavations around the Turfan (Turpan) area in modern day Xinjiang and found many Buddhist and Manichaean cave temples.

Unfortunately for us, he was less than scrupulous, and literally cut away the incredible murals he found, destroying some in the process, and hauling the rest off to Berlin.

This was done on the pretext that the area was unsafe and he was preserving them for the future. Nearly all of them, however, were finally destroyed in Berlin during the fire bomb raids at the end of the war.

Le Coq also made many recordings, though according to this film they have never been utilised, and just collect dust in Germany today.

Knowing his story (and others like him) it is easy to see why China stills holds that many of the explorers were little more than adventurers and thieves in disguise.

Besides the re-enactments, there are many photographs from the expeditions, and also some recordings.


I am unable to embed the film here, but follow this link for the video:

Watch on CCTV


to see a set of stills click on the date at the top of the embed below


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