The Story of China

About the Show

Michael Wood goes in search of the roots of Chinese culture. In Wuxi, Michael joins the Qin family reunion, when 300 relatives gather to worship their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day. And on the plain of the Yellow River, he joins a million pilgrims at the shrine of an ancient goddess, Nuwa, who, according to legend, made the first people of China from the mud of the Yellow River. Michael then goes in search of the origins of the Chinese state, visiting excavations at Erlitou and examining ‘oracle bones’ – artefacts that carry the earliest example of Chinese writing, retrieved from the Shang royal tombs in the 1920s. He also looks at early Chinese astronomy and the works of Confucius, possibly the world's most influential philosopher. Part 1 of 6.