homeabout kottke.orgarchives + tags

Photographer Justin Guariglia spent eight years documenting

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 27, 2007

Photographer Justin Guariglia spent eight years documenting the secretive warrior monks of the Shaolin Temple.

With the blessing of the main abbot, Shi Yong Xin, Guariglia has earned the full collaboration of the monks to create an astonishing, empathic record of the Shaolin art forms and the individuals who consider themselves the keepers of these traditions. It is the first time the monks have allowed such extensive documentation of these masters and their centuries-old art forms-from Buddhist mudras to classical kung fu-in their original setting, a 1,500-year-old Buddhist temple.

Photos and video here. Watching the videos, especially the one featuring Tong Jian Quan, I was reminded of hip hop dancing (Michael Jackson in particular) in a way that watching kung-fu and other martial arts in Hollywood movies does not.

Also, Shaolin monk Hai Deng was famous for performing a one-finger handstand. The video seems a little suspect but this performance brings the single finger handstand into the realm of possibility.

We Work Remotely