THE FIRST EMPEROR: THE MAN WHO MADE CHINA follows the firstemperor of China’s legendary rise, reign and fall, and employs cuttingedge science to unlock the secrets of his tomb. The emperor, Chin ShiHuang Di, is compared to Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar forcommanding millions, uniting China and building the Great Wall. Thoughrevered in the East, most westerners have had little knowledge of thegreat warrior, until now. The Discovery Channel transports viewers toancient China, bringing the Emperor’s story to life on Chinese New Year2006, Sunday, January 29, 9-11 PM ET/PT. Filmed on location in China, THE FIRST EMPEROR: THE MAN WHO MADE CHINAmarks unprecedented access for a western film crew to Emperor Chin’slegendary seven square mile underground burial complex. Filled withmore than 8,000 figures, including the terracotta army of soldiers, theEmperor designed it to celebrate his political and military power, andto achieve continued glory in the afterlife. Two thousand years afterhis death, ground-penetrating radar combined with CGI illustrate theshape, layout and design of the largest unopened tomb in the world,revealed on-screen for the first time. The special also proves true thelegend that Emperor Chin was buried amid a map of his empire flowingwith rivers of liquid mercury, which at the time was believed toprolong life.
“Discovery Channel’s first-time access to theexploration of the largest unopened tomb in history, combined withvivid dramatizations using the actors, costumes and sets of China’sfeature film industry, transports the viewer to ancient China,immersing them in the emperor’s renowned tale,” says Jane Root, EVP andGM of Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Military Channel. “Onceviewers learn of his unparalleled achievement, exceptional aggressionand lethal obsession with immortality, they will wonder why he wasnever included in their high school history lessons.”
EmperorChin’s achievements are astounding -- he was the first to unite China,abolished its feudalist past, gave the country its name, and commandedten times as many subjects as the Pharaohs of Egypt. He created asingle written language, was architect of the Great Wall, commanded thecreation of the first road system, and planned and built the world’sbiggest and most extravagant resting place.
THE FIRST EMPEROR: THE MAN WHO MADE CHINAreveals that the warrior king was also a brutal tyrant who achieved hisoverwhelming power by destroying all opposition, both on thebattlefield and in his own palace, where he survived repeatedassassination attempts. As he became more and more powerful, Chin wassaid to have consumed mercury in increasingly-large doses, hoping toextend his life.
But could the substance have had the oppositeeffect and driven him mad, or worse, killed him? While Emperor Chin’spowerful empire outlasted Rome by a thousand years, could his obsessionwith immortality have ultimately proven his downfall? The productionteam along with Dr. Jeffrey Riegel, Professor of Chinese at theUniversity of California, Berkeley, investigates how the tomb itselfcan reveal the facts behind the legend.
Filmed in highdefinition, the special transports viewers to ancient China by filmingat historic locales in China such as the Emperor’s burial complex,shooting scenes at Chinese film studios with full-size replica sets ofimperial palaces, using CGI to recreate battle scenes with one millionsoldiers, and recreating the construction of the Great Wall of China,portraying the original pounded earth techniques.
Finds From The Largest Unopened Tomb Revealed for the First Time:
· TheEmperor’s burial complex covers seven square miles and the tomb itselfis as large as a football field. It includes over 8,000 figures, witheverything from the terracotta army, assembled to protect the emperorfrom his spiritual enemies, to musicians and court officials,full-scale pleasure gardens (complete with replica bronze birds),entertainers and acrobats.
· Skeletons of courtiers haverecently been discovered – one is believed to be his eldest son,executed by his opponents shortly after the emperor’s death. Theevidence: a crossbow bolt discovered embedded in the skull.
· Twothousand years after the Emperor’s death, archaeological exploration,including ground-penetrating radar, shows the actual shapes, layout,and design of various tomb structures inside the tomb mound, includingthe structure of the tomb itself buried beneath the pyramid and coveredwith millions of tons of earth. This is recreated for the film usingcutting-edge computer graphics.
· For the first time, earth coresamples are taken off the tomb mound and analyzed. The testing provesthat there were rivers of mercury inside the tomb, laid out in theshape of a map of China. At the time, mercury was believed to prolonglife.
· This film marks the first time a Western film crew was given access to film these extraordinary new discoveries.