This is the second of five films in the series Indiana Jones in History: From Pompeii to the Moon. Based on a book of the same name by Justin M. Jacobs, the films look at treasure seekers throughout the ages and acting in various cultures.
The sections which interest us and being shown here are those on China (XXII to XVI). The format seems to be basically a reading from the book illustrated with appropriate photographs of the objects and people discussed.
The episode focuses on the fate of the Imperial Palace in Beijing, as competing forces raged around the capital during the 19th-20th centuries, and also talks about the changing perception of art that took place at the same time.
Following the fall of the Imperial Government to the Republic in 1911 the old Palace was gradually transformed into the Royal Palace Museum along the style of the western museums which were becoming known at the time.
But with the threat of an invasion by the Japanese forces in the 30s, the treasures held in the Museum were no longer considered safe, and were removed first to Nanjing, then to mountains in Sichuan, and finally, when the Communists took over, Chiang Kai-shek had a large part of the collection carried to Taiwan, where eventually a new Palace Museum was built. The rest were reestablished in Beijing, and have been added to ever since.
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