Karachi, Pakistan, is home to one of Asia’s largest markets. Merchants and herdsmen from all over the country’s rural Sindh area bring their camels for trade in Karachi’s busy outdoors. With so many animals crowding the market, sellers do everything they can to make their stock stand out to prospective buyers.
That’s where the little-known art of camel barbering comes in.
The cattle market in Karachi, Pakistan, is one of the largest in Asia.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
It has a separate section for the hundreds of camels brought by traders from the country’s rural Sindh area.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
Naturally, sellers want their camels to look their best.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
With so many camels available, you really have to find a way to stand out.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
“Buyers prefer to look for the most beautiful ones,” says one trader. “We sought the services of camel barbers like Ali Hassan to give the animals a ‘makeover’ to appease buyers and onlookers.”Anas Hamdani/Dawn
Primarily a human barber by trade, Ali also learned how to apply his skill to camels.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
The weeks before Eid-ul-Azha (the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice) are his busiest.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
He charges between two and three thousand rupees (about $15) for one camel.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
The animal’s thick, coarse hair allows for some truly amazing designs.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
Ali can do over 14 different designs based on the size and color of the camel.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
He does all this work with one simple pair of scissors.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
The whole process takes up to four hours.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
For his customers, the time and money is worth it. “I can easily charge 10-15,000 more for a shaved camel as compared to a simple one,” says one trader.Anas Hamdani/Dawn
This is fascinating!Anas Hamdani/Dawn
It’s wonderful to learn about different cultures and customs from around world, especially when it comes to their fascination with animals. This makes me wonder how my golden retriever would look with a pattern like that.
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