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Uyghur Shahaerdi Acrobatics

Shahaerdi(沙哈尔地), also known as Middle Air Flying Wheel(空中飞轮), is a popular and time-honored Uyghur pastime not for the faint-hearted. In Uyghur language, it means “a thrilling game which will make one scream ”, and it is a fitting name. It is highlight of festivals and grand occasions such as wedding ceremonies, and lasts from several days to over ten days.

Shahaerdi consists of a main wooden pole standing at 15m to 20m tall, a wooden wheel atop and several wooden wings sustained by long robes.

During festivals or spare time, four brave Uyghur people, both male and female, will step onto these swings and circle around the pole clockwise. As they move faster, the wooden wheel will elevate them higher and higher, till bring them flying in the middle air, at lightning speed. Sometimes, eight assistants are needed to push the wheel for these “flying men”.

Shahaerdi also involves infectious folk music, drumbeats, graceful dances and breathtaking stunts. Photo opportunity abounds. Though lesser-known, this pastime well worth your attention and even participation.
shahaerdi acrobatics
shahaerdi acrobaticsshahaerdi acrobatics
shahaerdi acrobaticsshahaerdi acrobatics
shahaerdi acrobaticsshahaerdi acrobatics
Author: Sophia     Posted on Sep 12, 2013


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