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WESTERN MAN and THE DRAGON BLADE

There is very little “historical” about this film. And they have obviously Chinese-filmed up and heavily stylized (and cheapened) the armor and many of the weapons. Meaning even less historicity.

Nevertheless, when I was in college one of the first plays I ever wrote was called Western Man. It was about a Greek Christian who had served his enlistment in the Roman Army in North Africa and Syria and decided to travel East along the Silk Road with some of his fellow Greeks as a merchant and wanderer. Eventually he ends up in Western China and settles and marries there, where, because of invasion (being a Christian he hopes the latter part of his life will be peaceful and almost monastic) he must train the surrounding village in Roman fighting tactics at the same time many of them wish to learn about Christianity.

In the resulting warfare his wife his killed and he decides to return West with his infant son, only to make it as far as Samarkand where he ends up becoming the chief merchant and wealthiest man in the city (shy of the rulers).

For that reason alone I am intrigued by the premise of this film and wonder if the film might actually have a shot at being good. I’d like to think it possible anyway.

The Trailer for Dragon Blade, Starring Jackie Chan and John Cusack

December 26, 2014

Dragon Blade

Although the Chinese production is not yet set for an official release domestically, the historical epic Dragon Blade will open on February 18, 2015 in China in regular, 3D and IMAX 3D theaters. The film has now debuted a first trailer, via Check Magazine, and you can check it out for yourself in the player below!

Directed by Daniel Lee (14 Blade, Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon), Dragon Blade stars Jackie Chan (Rush Hour, 1911), John Cusack (Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity), Adrien Brody (The Darjeeling Limited, Splice), Peng Lin (Little Big Soldier, The Viral Factor), Si Won Choi (“Athena: Goddess of War,” “Extravagant Challenge”) and Sharni Vinson (You’re Next, Bait). Chan also produces Dragon Blade alongside Susanna Tsang.

Set in China during the Han dynasty (206-220 AD), Dragon Blade follows Huo An (Chan), an official framed and enslaved for a crime he didn’t commit. Soon thereafter, however, he meets Roman soldier in Cusack’s Lucius and the pair begin to form an unlikely alliance.

We’ve also updated our Dragon Blade gallery with quite a few stills from the new film and with character posters featuring Chan, Brody, Cusack and many more. Check them all out in the gallery viewer at the bottom of this page.

 

THE MYTHICAL SILK ROAD CEMETARY

I love the Silk Road. I’ve been studying it since college and I once did a major paper on Buddhist missionary efforts Westward and Christian missionary efforts Eastwards along the Silk Road.

Superb discovery.

1,700-Year-Old Silk Road Cemetery Contains Mythical Carvings

by Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor | November 24, 2014 07:40am ET

An ancient cemetery – silk road


[Pin It] A cemetery dating back around 1,700 years has been discovered in Kucha, a city in China. The city played an important role along the Silk Road trade routes that connected China to the Roman Empire. Archaeologists have uncovered 10 tombs in the cemetery, seven of which are large structures made with bricks. This image shows part of the cemetery facing north.
Credit: Chinese Cultural Relics

A cemetery dating back roughly 1,700 years has been discovered along part of the Silk Road, a series of ancient trade routes that once connected China to the Roman Empire.

The cemetery was found in the city of Kucha, which is located in present-day northwest China. Ten tombs were excavated, seven of which turned out to be large brick structures.

One tomb, dubbed “M3,” contained carvings of several mythical creatures, including four that represent different seasons and parts of the heavens: the White Tiger of the West, the Vermilion Bird of the South, the Black Turtle of the North and the Azure Dragon of the East. [See photos of the ancient Silk Road cemetery]

The M3 tomb also “consists of a burial mound, ramp, sealed gate, tomb entrance, screen walls, passage, burial chamber and side chamber” the researchers wrote in a report published recently in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.

The cemetery was first found in July 2007 and was excavated by the Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, with assistance from local authorities. The research team, led by Zhiyong Yu, director of the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute, published the findings in Chinese in the journal Wenwu. The article was recently translated into English and published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.

Who was buried here?

The identity of the people buried in the cemetery is a mystery. The cemetery had been robbed in the past and no writing was found that indicates the names of those buried or their positions in life.

The seven large brick tombs were likely constructed for people of wealth, the researchers said.

But, when the skeletal remains were analyzed, the researchers found that the tombs had been reused multiple times. Some of the tombs contain more than 10 occupants, and the “repeated multiple burials warrant further study,” the researchers wrote.

City on the Silk Road

The excavators think the cemetery dates back around 1,700 years, to a time when Kucha was vital to controlling the Western Frontiers (Xiyu) of China. Since the Silk Road trade routes passed through the Western Frontiers, control of this key region was important to China’s rulers.

“In ancient times, Kucha was called Qiuci in Chinese literature. It was a powerful city-state in the oasis of the Western Frontiers” the researchers wrote.

For the dynasties that flourished in China around 1,700 years ago “the conquest and effective governance of Kucha would enable them to control all the oasis city-states in the Western Frontiers,” the researchers said.

In fact, one ancient saying was, “if you have Kucha, only one percent of the states in the Western Frontiers remain unsubmissive.”

Chinese Cultural Relics is a new journal that translates Chinese-language articles, originally published in the journal Wenwu, into English. The discovery of the 1,700-year-old cemetery was included in its inaugural issue.

Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

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