Monday, June 2, 2008

The other day I arrived in the Marra Bagga Market to find that one of my friends and a participant in my research had purchased 4 new leopard hides.  He was excited to show them to me and promptly unfolded the largest for me to photograph.  The hide was quite large, roughly 2 meters by 1 meter; most likely an adult female.  The other three hides measured approximately 1.5 meters by 1 meter (probably young males).    

He purchased the four hides from a professional middleman who specializes in transporting and selling wildlife parts.  My friend purchased the four leopard hides for 210,000cfa (roughly $500.00).  The three smaller hides went for 50,000cfa each, while the larger single hide sold for 60,000cfa.  

Later in the afternoon I returned to my friend and learned that he had sold the three smaller hides to another of my research participants who works at the Artisana.  He sold the three hides to the Artisana vendor for a total of 200,000cfa.  Talk about a quick return on your investment.  The larger hide will remain in the Marra Bagga Market and be sold by piece, whereas the hides sold in the Artisana will most likely be sold whole to a tourist or other affluent individual.

This last picture is taken in the Marra Bagga Market.  I was walking by one of my participant's stall and saw something out of place.  For some reason I found this very funny, but the joke was lost in translation.  I tried to ask in Bamana: How much does Big Bird sell for?  What medicine is he used to make?  I got some very strange looks as I was told that it was not for sale, the vendor had purchased it for his daughter.  Some jokes are best left unsaid.  

1 comment:

nfds said...

Hello Ian,

I am a fellow anthropologist from Poland. I am interested in traditional Malian beliefs since my visit to the country in 2004. I came accross your book on animal parts trade of Mali via GoogleBooks and while I was trying to find more information about it, I discovered your blog. It's a great read and your photographs are valuable documents!

I don't seem to find your book on Amazon, is it avaliable via one of the other online bookstores by any chance?

Good luck with your research!