Shaolin Encyclopedia by Shì Déqián

In 1992, Shaolin monk Shì Déqián (釋德虔) completed the "Shàolín Sì Wǔshù Bǎikē Quánshū" (少林寺武術百科全書), known informally in English as the "Shaolin Encyclopedia", consisting of four volumes, with over 4000 pages, 3.8 million Chinese ideograms, over 1000 diagrams and drawings showing traditional Shaolin martial arts forms, including traditional Shaolin weapons forms. This is a genuine work of art. It is highly treasured and recognized by Shaolin monks as the most definitive publication of their system. Not only is it the largest single publication on Shaolin martial arts, it may well be the largest ever on any martial art.

Unfortunately, the "Shaolin Encyclopedia" has never been translated into English. It's estimated the cost would be approximately 600,000 RMB (nearly $75,000 USD) to have a translation done. No one is willing to invest so much on a publication that has such a narrow market. Furthermore, the four volume "Shaolin Encyclopedia" may never be reprinted, even in Chinese. The most economical estimation for a reprint is over half a million RMB (approximately $70,000 USD). So the few editions that have been printed are true collector's items.

If you're looking to purchase this original four volume set, they're still available online as of 2020 and sell for approximately $1,000.00 USD. That's about double what we paid for our set back in the day. However, a two volume version, consisting of over 2300 pages, was available, as of 2017, with more photographs illustrating the forms than the original four volume set. Additionally, many forms have been revised and corrected in the two volume edition. This two volume edition sold for approximately $219 USD.

If you'd like to learn more about Shì Déqián and the "Shaolin Encyclopedia", Check out this article by Gene Ching over at his Kung Fu Magazine website.

Download Shaolin Encyclopedia by Shì Déqián


Unknown said...

Greetings.. Thank you for these uploads! I see that the combined 2 volume version is no longer functioning. Could you please upload it again, or provide contact info for me to pursue it privately? Many thanks!

Jason said...

Greetings, I have a like new 4 vol version for sale if anyone is interested.

Unknown said...

How much are you asking , and are you located in the USA?

Jason said...

I'm in the US. It there a way to private message me? Thanks.

Andrew said...

I too am trying to follow up the 2 Volume Link but am unable to. Could I receive a follow up link? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Thank you for this article. I’m discovering the existence of this treasure. I’m thinking that 70k USDollar is not that crazy money for translation if a kickstarter is launched for the international community.
Someone has an idea how to get in contact with those who hold the rights in China?