This is the third of five films about people who were connected with Dunhuang, and their roles in its history. The films are largely elaborations based on legends surrounding the outpost on the western edge of China.
This week’s episode starts in 417CE, and the silk road is again in disarray. In China proper it is the time of the 16 kingdoms. Dunhuang however is still prospering, standing as it does, between China and the rest of the world.
One of the Hun tribes works to unite control over the Hexi Corridor, which is the raod into China, it is headed by Juqu Mengxun, and eventually he gains control of a large area, including Dunhuang.
After establishing himself Juqu Mengxun is being advised by the Buddhist monk Tanwu Chen, who is from India. It is at this time that work begins at Mogao, and the first of the caves are excavated.
Juqu Mengxun eventually had Tanwu Chen killed, rather than lose him to a rival, and regretting his action he died himself shortly thereafter. But his legacy lies in the early Mogao Caves.
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