This is the last 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.
When the Library Cave was opened and the huge manuscript collection was discovered there was also a statue of Hong Bian overlooking the collection. This is because of was Hong Bian’s family memorial cave before it was sealed off.
This episode looks at who Hong Bian was, and the important role he played in Dunhuang’s history, which begins with the occupation of the city by the nomadic Tubo peoples. At that time the whole of the Hexi Corridor was under Tubo rule, and the heartland of China was cut off from the western regions.
Hong Bian played a major role in bringing it back under Han control, and trained an army of monks to help in the fight to regain control of the city. Later, when that was accomplished he had a cave excavated and dedicated to his family memorial. How that cave eventually became the Library Cave is not properly understood, but it did, and this film uncovers Hong Bian’s history.
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