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Matthieu Paley

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Buzhkachi I (2008)

Matthieu Paley

Limited edition of 30
Archival pigment print
80 x 60 cm

Outside Dushanbe, over 50 horses and their riders have gathered on a snowy plain to play Buzkachi, a raw and ancient Central Asian horse game played since the days of Ghengis Khan.


Riders, known as Chopendoz, usually wear heavy clothing and head protection such as old Russian tank hats to protect themselves against other players’ whips and boots.


The aim of Buzkachi is to grab the carcass of a goat, keep it clear of the other players and pitch it across the goal line. Competition is typically fierce, as other players may use any force short of tripping the horses in order to thwart scoring attempts.

Matthieu Paley

Matthieu Paley was born in France, spent three years studying photography in New York and has led a peripatetic life for much of the past twelve years in the highest and remotest regions of Asia. He is regarded as possibly the finest young explorer-photographer working today in Asia, and since 2012 has worked on several major National Geographic assignments


Paley’s photographs are awe-inspiring. His work is not easily acquired and few people ever visit the regions which he has made his second home. Frequently, he visits these beautiful but inhospitable regions in the depths of winter when temperatures drop to -30°c. For Paley this provides the best light and working conditions to shoot his ethereal and awe inspiring photographs.



Buzhkachi I

Stock No: MP009