• Image 1 of 25

Wudang Shan: Inhabiting the Peripheries of Emptiness

keith harmon snow | Hubei, China

Organization: None

Manual laborers paid a measly wage support the unbridled development of tourist infrastructure. Emperor Zhu Di (1360-1424) ordered built the Purple Forbidden City in Beijing in 1406, and from 1412 to 1420 some 300,000 eunuchs, soldiers and corvee laborers built the Purple Gold Forbidden City at Wudang.

The venerated Wudang Shan (‘shan’ 山 is the character for mountain peaks) are known in China as the birthplace of ancient forms of martial arts (Wu Shu) fused with Taoism.  Wudan Shan's Wu Shu forms have competed over time, and complemented, the Wu Shu forms of the Shaolin temples.  During the Cultural Revolution the practitioners of Wu Shu and Taoism were forced to leave Wudang Shan and go into hiding (Shaolin temples, which are located in a more northern region of China, were also closed). This exhibit engages the contradictions faced by the people and culture at Wudang Shan, which is a World Heritage site.  The cultural and philosophical legacy and the ascetic ways of life are under assault by unbridled tourism and government meddling.  Peasants confronted by the all powerful currencies of tourism live in extreme poverty.  All things return to the Tao.  The cosmic law of opposites rules: darkness-light, male-female, ying-yang, empty-full, conscious-unconscious, deserted-overcrowded, ancient-modern: all things come back to balance, all things pass.

These images were shot in ten days in late September 2014, when the mountain(s) were quiet prior to the approaching national holidays in early October.  The true Daoshi seek to live in seclusion, do not wish to be photographed and shy away from the lens due to previous negative experiences where their images have been used inappropriately and/or out of context and without their permission. 

Keith Harmon Snow

84 Goshen Road

Williamsburg MA 01096 USA

+1 (413) 626 3800

ConsciousBeingAlliance: http://www.ConsciousBeingAlliance.com

All Things Pass: http://www.AllThingsPass.com

Content loading...

Make Comment/View Comments