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Illustration: Woodcut of Bodhidharma
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Illustration: Woodcut of Bodhidharma

Woodcut Illustration of Bodhidharma

Woodcut Illustration of Bodhidharma

license: public domain
source: Wikimedia Commons
author: Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839–1892)

A woodcut illustration depicts Bodhidharma, the (likely falsely attributed) “father of kung fu,” sitting in a meditative position. The bearded figure wears a red robe and is framed by a broken window, with a low-hanging moon in the background.


Illustration: 1887


This woodcut illustration was made by Japanese artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–1892) in 1887. The figure depicted is Bodhidharma, a 5th or 6th century Buddhist monk often attributed as the “father of kung fu.” Legend relates that Bodhidharma took a Buddhist Indian martial art to China and founded the first Shaolin monastery, in which he developed and taught kung fu. However, this legend is likely false and is therefore not widely accepted (though it is often repeated), as discussed in History of Kung Fu.

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History of Kung Fu | History of Karate


Ashrafian, H. (2014). Warrior origins: The historical and legendary links between the Bodhidharma’s Shaolin kung-fu, karate and ninjitsu. Stroud, Gloucestershire: History Press.

Shahar, M. (2008). The Shaolin monastery: History, religion, and the Chinese martial arts. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.