China: Treasures of the Jade Empire

Newly discovered treasure abandoned by Tomb Raiders reveals the secrets of the dynasty that made modern China.

Over 1000 years ago robbers broke into a Royal Tomb in Eastern China but they left behind something priceless. The Emperors of the Han Dynasty led a life of unimaginable wealth and sophistication. It was China’s Golden Age, rivalling Rome and built on trade along the Silk Road they founded.  In their search for immortality they built magnificent mausoleums where they were entombed like mummies in jade suits, their orifices plugged with jade. Now archaeologists are using cutting edge technology to open up these spectacular tombs. They are finding rare evidence of gold, silk and precious jewels – and a vast new terracotta army – this time in miniature and naked.

Today 90% of Chinese people consider themselves Ethnic Han; their language is ‘Han’; their writing system ‘Han Script’.  The mysterious Han Dynasty gave Modern China a unified social and cultural identity.

After a recent change in the law, this film has obtained exceptional permission to witness current archaeology of China's national treasures

Production Information

Broadcaster: Channel 4 & Smithsonian & ARTE & JSBC

TX Date: October 2015

Format: 1 x 60

Website: Channel 4- China: Treasures of the Jade Empire

Executive Producer(s):

Bill Locke