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.camel-barbering-1Anas Hamdani/Dawn

It has a separate section for the hundreds of camels brought by traders from the country’s rural Sindh area.camel-barbering-2Anas Hamdani/Dawn

Naturally, sellers want their camels to look their best.camel-barbering-3Anas Hamdani/Dawn

With so many camels available, you really have to find a way to stand out.camel-barbering-4Anas 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.”camel-barbering-5Anas Hamdani/Dawn

Primarily a human barber by trade, Ali also learned how to apply his skill to camels.camel-barbering-6Anas Hamdani/Dawn

The weeks before Eid-ul-Azha (the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice) are his busiest.camel-barbering-7Anas Hamdani/Dawn

He charges between two and three thousand rupees (about $15) for one camel.camel-barbering-8Anas Hamdani/Dawn

The animal’s thick, coarse hair allows for some truly amazing designs.camel-barbering-9Anas Hamdani/Dawn

Ali can do over 14 different designs based on the size and color of the camel.camel-barbering-10Anas Hamdani/Dawn

He does all this work with one simple pair of scissors.camel-barbering-11Anas Hamdani/Dawn

The whole process takes up to four hours.camel-barbering-12Anas 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.camel-barbering-13Anas Hamdani/Dawn

This is fascinating!camel-barbering-14Anas 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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