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Photographer's Note

Livestock Market:
A great place to catch a glimpse of Uighur culture, this mother of all markets which attracts up thousand of farmers from all over the plains, deserts and mountains of the province and gethering in huge area about 45km to the south east of town, on the outskirts of Taklamakan desert. For the sheer scale of the occasion, it's the number one sight, Kashgar's renowned livestock open market. Trafiic jam of donkeys carts compete with horseman and herds of sheep for space in the choatic dusty open square. Exploring this marketplace is intriguing and eye-openeing experience and navigating around is a heart-pulsating affair indeed. Here horses are test driven, sheep are inspected and picked over and cattle are paraded before potential buyers.

Animals, knives, hats, pots, carpets,and pans, fresh fruits, vegetable, clothes and leather boots and every kind of domestic and agricultural appliances, often home made in wood and tin, are also on sale. Some produce, such as Iranian saffron has come a long way to be sold here. The market goes on all day and into the early evening and food and drinks are widely available on and around the site. Despite modern progress, deals are still made here the way they have been made for over a thousand years, a truly Central Asian experience all together re-enacting a ritual that has not changed much since the first days of the Silk Road. It's a delightful place to take in the region's diversity, as representatives of various colorful ethnic groups and subgroups show up, often in distinctive costume all sporting in their own particular headwears.

I arrive early in the cold foggy morning, just before it starts to get going. Some locals are still arriving with their livestock, while others are already engaged in hard negotiating. It is interesting to see how people arrive at the market. Some farmers come walking, leading a single goat to the market, while others have a truckload full of livestock. Some of the cows, goats or sheep are tied down on the back of a motorcycle or tuk-tuk, having traveled for hours to this market. The most interesting thing I learn is that Uighurs use a method for bargaining by locking hands and using a communication method only with their fingers, bargaining without speaking, with lots of body language. The market is not only a place for commerce but also for gossiping and catching up with family and friends. This ultra-remote Silk Road trading center has been around for two millennia, and with a market of this size and stature, you get the feeling it will be around for many more. It is at the very heart of Uighur traditional way of life and it's fortunate that this pocket of culture still exists relatively uninfluenced and untouched by the commie government.

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Though famed for its cows and donkeys, the cash animal is the sheep, with a high quality breeder sheep bringing in as much 1million RMB. That may seem a pretty expensive for an animal with the lifespan of around 10years. However when you see the countless mutton stalls at the markets and on the streets of Kashgar where butchers are known to make around 1000 RMB a day, the high asking price begins to seem less steep.


Workshop1:
5 km or so from the market, the two-lane poplar lined road begins to fill with motobikes, donkeycarts piled with people, sheep, and anything else that can be sold at the market. The number of donkey carts far outnumber car or buses on the approach to the open market and the speed of traffic slows to match their pace. These folks arrive early before the real action takes place, sharing a donkey cart


Workshop2:
Sheep on parade awaiting for potential buyers

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Additional Photos by abmdsudi abmdsudi (abmdsudi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 8270 W: 150 N: 18557] (82812)
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