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Slipping into history

By Fang Aiqing | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-12-29 07:54

The first two episodes of the show, featuring the Liye slips, have performers act out stories the relics tell. [Photo provided to China Daily]

To make it fun and easier to understand, the production team strung together the information on the slips, created storylines — while major events conform to the historical facts, some plots were fictional — and performers acted them out.

From the first two episodes, the audiences see how Qin officials were dispatched to take over a land that used to belong to the Chu state, how they governed, how the two cultures blended and the people got along.

It was common then that government sectors were short-handed and had to transfer staff elsewhere.

The Qin Dynasty was known for its strict laws and regulations. When higher officials came to assess the performance of local officials, tough questions were asked, and Chang, the last governor of Qianling, became awkward and anxious, as is shown in the performance.

Audiences can also see in the performance how Hua, a Chu local, volunteered to explain the law to the people in case they broke it out of ignorance. Hua later became the secretary of government. Throughout the period these Liye slips covered, he carved down what we can read from them today.

Ma says, the production team has been working on the 11-episode variety show since November 2022.

"By creating a dialogue across time and space, we want to stress the importance of the Chinese contextual inheritance," he says.

According to him, later episodes of the show will involve slips found at a Qin tomb in Shuihudi village, Yunmeng county of Hubei province, a Han tomb at the Yinque Mountain of Shandong province, the sites of Xuanquanzhi and Yumen Pass of Gansu province, and more.

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