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Combing Cashmere

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Bulag, Uradyn E. 


Batusurun, a herder in Yisen Tologai village (Nine-Head) village, is a descendant of one of the richest Torghuts in Hobogsair in the last century. As he says, his great grandfather’s flocks reached 10,000 heads once in the past and they celebrated the achievement by purchasing a golden open fire stove and a silver pot, which were symbols of wealth in Hobogsair. Batusurun is not as rich as his ancestors, currently herding only 200 goats, 100 sheep, 40 cows, and 15 horses. His main income comes from sheep and goats.According to his estimate, the cashmere will earn his family around ¥20,000 in a year. A goat may yield ¥75 of cashmere in a year, but then due to lack of labour in his family, he has to hire people to comb cashmere which costs ¥15 per goat. His income is not always stable, as the price for cashmere and ground hair has been fluctuating in recent years. For instance, the guard hair used to be worth ¥4 per kg, but this year it was only ¥1.50 per kg.



Torghut goat herder, cashmere, income

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin