Underlying all the chapters is a focus on how Hou reinvents Tang-dynasty China in contemporary culture. The meticulously recreated everyday reality of the Tang world in the film highlights the ethnic and cultural diversity of the dynasty. It was a time when Sogdian traders acted as important intermediaries between Central Asia and the Tang court, and as a result Sogdian culture permeated the society.
Taking note of the vibrant hybridity of Tang culture in the film, this volume shows that the historical openness to non-Chinese elements is in fact an essential part of the Chineseness expressed in Hou’s work. The Assassin is a gateway to the remote Tang-dynasty world, but in Hou’s hands the concerns of that premodern world turn out to be highly relevant to the world of the audience.