Gallery

Corsets, 4-inch heels, and foot binding.

I hiked the Chilkoot Trail in 2000. When I was writing about it for Alaska magazine, somehow I stumbled across the information that women in that time, 1898-1899, wore on average forty pounds of clothes.

Can you imagine hiking up that

in forty pounds of clothes? That’s, what, like eight 5-pound chickens, or one three-year old child.

Now imagine that part of that forty pounds is a corset

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Rugs, ropes and rivets.

What do you want? Need? Make? Sell? Buy? Whatever your answer is, the Silk Road’s oasis towns have a market with your name on it.

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The guy below? He’s making rivets out of tiny pieces of metal he has cut into triangles. He pushes one corner of the triangle into a hole in the mold he’s holding and bangs on it with that hammer. The corner becomes the shaft of the rivet and the rest of the triangle the head. And then he uses the rivets to finish one of the buckets you see sitting next to him.

And he was just across the street from the dentist, and right around the corner from the mule shoer. (Have I mentioned how much I love markets?)

Rivet maker

(Soundtrack to this and all Silk and Song market posts.)

HoZ Silk and Song final

Which I will be signing at 2pm on December 2nd

at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Click here to pre-order.

The Templars

So, okay, Dana Stabenow, BA, MFA, NATS* here.

Google Templars and you get 1,290,000 hits. On the day I wrote this post, the sixth hit down was this story. It says something about the enduring mythology of the Knights Templar that today, 700 years after the last Templar Grand Master was burned at the stake in Paris, France, a drug cartel names itself after them.

There are lots and lots and lots of books written about the Templars.
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So when it came time to write a Templar character into By the Shores of the Middle Sea, the second book in the Silk and Song trilogy, I had plenty of historians who had done the grunt work for me. Herewith The Knowledge Have I Gleaned.

The Knights Templar began in 1113 when Frankish knight Huges de Payen volunteered his and nine (unless it was thirty) other knights’ services to King Baldwin of Jerusalem to guard the safety of pilgrims traveling from where they landed on the coast to the Holy Sepulcher. Unless they were founded in Easter of 1119, when a group of pilgrims was massacred by Saracens. Unless you don’t think they were really Templars until the Catholic church annointed them as such at the Council of Troyes in 1128. And if you thought they weren’t Templars until they were granted the right to wear a red cross on their mantles, that wouldn’t be until 1147.

The Templars were founded as a community of warrior priests, bound to celibacy and poverty. Unless they were international financiers as honest and honorable as Jamie Dimon. They were verray, parfit, gentil knights, like Parsival and Lancelot. Unless they were some of the richest landowners in Europe. They took oaths to serve only God and were sworn to kill only Muslims. Unless they were swords for hire, indeed, Assassins in Christian clothing, and even colluded with the actual [Muslim] Assassins now and then.

The Templar order was suppressed in 1312 by papal bull, its Grand Master burned at the stake in 1314, a victim of a jealous Philip the Fair of France who wanted all their money and possessions. Unless they were guilty as charged of idolatry, heresy and sodomy. Which pretty much no one except William of Tyre thought they were.

Sigh.

And then I remembered: I’m writing a novel. As in, in the immortal words of Mike Doogan, Made Right Up.

What a relief.

*NATS: Not A Templar Scholar.

HoZ Silk and Song final.jpg

 

Which I will be signing at 2pm on December 2nd

at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Click here to pre-order.

It’s a deal.

It's a deal - Kashgar

In the Kashgar livestock market. The guy in the tall hat is the broker, the guys on either side the seller and buyer. The tallest guy is always the broker, we were told. And evidently, if they aren’t tall enough the hat can make up the difference.

HoZ Silk and Song final

Which I will be signing at 2pm on December 2nd

at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Click here to pre-order.

The silk in Silk Road.

unspooling the cocoons

Those are silk cocoons, spun by silk worms who have fed long and well on mulberry leaves. There is a fire beneath the caldron, and this lady is boiling them in water to make the very end of the strands loosen, all the while stirring the water so that the strand ends will adhere to the stirring stick. The ends are attached to a spindle and wound, and voila, ready to dye and weave.

Now they have gigantic automated factories to do this work, of course, but this is the way they would have done it back in Johanna’s day.

HoZ Silk and Song final.jpg

Which I will be signing at 2pm on December 2nd

at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Click here to pre-order.

Once you get in, you’ll never get out.

Teklamakan 1

The Taklamakan Desert.

Some sources claim it means “Place of No Return”, more commonly interpreted as “once you get in, you’ll never get out.”

Teklamakan 2

And you can see why.

Teklamakan 3

 

HoZ Silk and Song final

Which I will be signing at 2pm on December 2nd

at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Click here to pre-order.

It’s all about product placement on the Silk Road.

Coal and stovepipes copy

Coal and stovepipes in the Kuche market. Hey, buy one, gotta buy the other.

HoZ Silk and Song final

Which I will be signing at 2pm on December 2nd

at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Click here to pre-order.