August 27, 2009 / 4:44 PM / 10 years ago

Kung fu artist ends hair-raising career to become nun

Zhang Tingting, 52, pulls cars with her hair during a performance in Kaifeng, Henan province August 25, 2009. Zhang succeeded in pulling eight cars over 20 metres with her one-metre-long braid, local media reported. REUTERS/Stringer

KAIFENG, China (Reuters) - A Chinese kung fu artist who tows cars and cuts paper with her braided hair has given up her crowning glory to officially become a Buddhist nun.

Zhang Tingting completely shaved off the hair that she says has “kung fu power” and extraordinary strength so that she can enter a temple as a nun.

“I really always wanted to cut my hair off, but I couldn’t because of the performances. But this time I’ve given it up for good,” Zhang told Reuters. “It feels great.”

The 52-year-old artist has performed across China for decades, after taking up martial arts when she was 17. She began living the life of a nun two years ago.

Before bidding her meter-long braid farewell, she pulled six passenger cars some 50 meters (164 ft) through a Beijing suburb, then repeated the feat with ten cars, for about 30 meters, in her hometown of Kaifeng, Henan Province.

Although Zhang and her plait are now permanently separated, the hair has been preserved. Authorities are considering sending it on a pilgrimage to sacred Buddhist sites in Tibet, or displaying it in a local museum.

The Guinness World Record for the heaviest single vehicle to have been pulled by a person’s hair is held by He Jianma from China, who dragged an 8.28-tonne bus 30 meters this May.

Reporting by Max Duncan, writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Lucy Hornby

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