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Ash returns home after a film shoot for the Sichuan government.
Mandarin films and Ash were called in, to showcase the diversity of Sichuan province, AKA “the land of abundance”.
This saw them filming in locations from Daocheng Yading, with mountain peaks rocketing above 6,000 metres. To Leshan, where the largest stone Buddha statue in the world is located.
Since Ash’ positive promotions of China along the course of Mission Yangtze and bringing the governments on board, in order to get access to sensitive areas. He’s been heavily followed and now, positively encouraged by the government.
However, it was pretty demanding, with Ash’ schedule being so tight, allowing him no more than 10 days to complete the shoot.
Mandarin Films and Ash, flew from Chengdu (home of the pandas) to Daocheng, the highest airport in the world at 4,411 metres.
On arrival, they met with local photographer and Chinese explore, Lao Yin.
They stayed with the local nomads on the first night, to capture their way of life in these high and extreme conditions and then pushed onto a glacier within Yading Nature reserve.
The film crew started to struggle, with the altitude being at 4,500 metres and weren’t able to cope with the incline of the mountains, which were a vital part of the story.
One member was carried to safety on day three, by Ash and Lao Yin, to then being sent straight to hospital, with slight fluid in his lungs.
The second member was taken down to lower altitude by donkeys and the third member became too fatigued to continue.
With the team now in safe hands and off the mountains, Ash and Lao Yin decided to push onto the peak at 5,000 metres, achieving the main objective of the shoot, which came with the reward of this spectacular view.
The next stage of the shoot, went from the high, snow caped peaks, to the lower and more forested regions in central Sichuan.
For what is based there, is the largest stone Buddha in the world!
A city called Leshan, home to a 71metre, 1,300 year old giant Buddha, built within the side of a cliff.
Ash met with the local guardian of Buddha, who had been maintaining the statue for almost 40 years.
Construction started in 713 AD, led by a Chinese monk named Hai Tong. He hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels traveling down the river. When funding for the project was threatened, he is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity.
After his death, however, the construction was stuck due to insufficient funding. About 70 years later, jiedushi Wei Gao decided to sponsor the project and the construction was completed by Hai Tong's disciples in 803.
Apparently, the massive construction resulted in so much stone being removed from the cliff face and deposited into the river below, that the currents were indeed altered by the statue, making the water safe for passing ships.
Ash said, “the sheer scale of the giant Buddha, is extremely impressive, you could fit two people comfortably on its little toe nail”.
Ash is now back to a busy schedule in the UK.