Bowling for More Treasures
Continuing on the hunt for native handicrafts, Gul took us a few miles outside of Khotan to the small village of Bageqi to meet a famed maker of wooden bowls.
The master bowl-maker was out, but we found his eleven-year-old son working away on a pile of rough-cut chunks, using a small, engine-powered lathe to smooth a pile of roughed-out chunks into various-sized serving bowls.
We needed salad bowls back in Beijing, so we ordered some to pick up the next afternoon. The price seemed pretty high – US$100 for a large salad bowl plus a dozen smaller ones. Gul explained that the new laws protecting walnut trees meant that the supply of wood was limited, which made sense to us. Still cheaper than Williams-Sonoma, at any rate!
We returned to Bageqi on Tuesday for pick up - what a difference a day makes!
Opposite the date-sellers, an open-air barber shop had a customer in every chair:
We finally made it to the house, to find the master working away:
Our order was almost ready but first the bowls had to be hand-oiled by the master’s veiled wife.
We picked them up, paid our money, shook
hands with everybody in the shop, and slowly wove our way back up the
road, dodging donkeys all the way.