Popular throughout much of Central Asia, buzkashi is a form of horse polo in which horseback players wrestle a goat carcass across a playing field. Believed to have its origins as a defense tactic against Genghis Khan’s livestock-snatching Mongols, the sport is played with few rules and no teams – every man fights for himself. Buzkashi is practiced more widely in Tajikistan, compared to the other ex-Soviet republics, where the sport is occasionally controlled. All of the photos in this gallery were shot in Tajikistan, as part of a project on buzkashi culture throughout the ’stans.
Growing up in China, India and Indonesia, Theodore Kaye found a natural passion in photographing the world. While majoring in Film at Yale, he studied Uzbek and Farsi and then went to work as a newspaper editor and mountain guide in Central Asia before settling on a photo career. As a former staff photographer at Rhythms Monthly, a Chinese-language geographic magazine, he has covered stories in India, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Japan, Ireland and Great Britain. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Associated Press, McSweeneys, the Asahi Shimbun and the National Film Board of Canada. He recently won the Gold Award in the PX3 2011 Pro/Press/Sport category. He is currently pursuing personal projects in the Central Asian 'stans and Greater China.