Friday, June 15, 2007

Merchants of Caspian Gate Folding Retail Tent

If you walked from Montezuma down Gurley to, say, the Grill, you may have noticed this exotic gent in the window of the Peace of My Heart Shop. Sadly, he may soon be history. He's part of the promo for The Caspian Gate, which has occupied the rear room of the Fair Trade shop of late.

So what type of merchandise would you find in a place called The Caspian Gate? Basically, costumes. But not your everyday clown or top hat or cowboy dress-up outfit. Not even a Victorian tea party frock.

No, these costumes are from far and from fanciful places. Bangles for the likes of the belly dancers of Troupe Salamant, for example. Elaborate medieval finery for Renaissance Fairs. Beaded caftans, kimonos and robes from the Far East. That sort of thing. Wonderful, luxurious stuff to look at and wist for. Hand crafted.

Not exactly what you would call walk-in merchandise. Especially for a smallish city in the mountains of Arizona that brags about its rodeo. So the retail tents of The Caspian Gate are folding at the end of the month; just incidentally, there is a discount being offered. But if you don't get a chance to look in at the store before it closes, don't fret -- the Merchants have a presence on the internet.

Yes, I wondered about the background of the name and did consult The Google to find out more. Livius had this to say:

The Caspian Gate is mentioned in several ancient sources as a mountain pass on the road between Rhagae (more or less identical to modern Tehran) and Hecatompylos, the capital of Parthia, south of modern Damghan. The Caspian Gate is almost certainly identical with the pass between modern Eyvanakey and Aradan. The road is very ancient indeed: this is the course of the Silk road. Today, there is a highway that connects Tehran with Mashad. The Caspian Gate was once the border between Media and Parthia. During the war against the Macedonian invader Alexander the Great, the last Achaemenid king Darius III Codomannus selected this place as his final stand (summer 330).

Dressing up in costume can be great fun, tho the more splendid the get-up, usually the heavier it is -- a big consideration at my age! Imagine one's clothing wearing one out. And costumes can be quite pricey, too. My granddaughter's outfit for her ballet debut cost $85, for a one-time use! On the other hand, her mom bought her several secondhand ballet confections for dress-up play on eBay for $10-15.

So... enjoy the costumes; imagine a caravan passing through the actual Caspian Gate as it travels the Silk Road to bring remarkable goods from exotic lands... an on-line merchant with headquarters in Prescott, Arizona, of all places.

Notes: On the subject of faraway places, I found an interesting blog by an American woman in Saudi Arabia, Sand Gets in My Eyes. And I discovered that there's such a thing as an aloe tree, if you can imagine; My Aloe Garden has pictures.


hermano said...

Are/were the principals of MCG of mid east extraction?? I noted the absence of the paisley pattern in the pics. Speaking of that pattern, we have a 'coffee=' pot (tall and 'Arabic' looking) with accompanying tray, all in copper with paisleys emblazoned all over the place. Haven't figured out how to polish same.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that the store would be located there. I understand why they would close. Lack of customers. I checked the Saudi blog. Funny post.

Sand Gets in My Eyes said...

Granny J - Thanks for the mention of my blog! It's funny to see Mideast stuff populating the store windows of Small Town USA, hehe especially since those same items are all but absent from store windows here!

Great pics by the way!

Again, thanks.

Granny J said...

Bro -- I have no idea of the provenance of the principals. Having met one of the belly dancers (an engineer, BTW) who may have made some of the costumes, I'm inclined to doubt it. BTW, paisleys suggest the subcontinent rather than Arabia. (That's a guess on my part.)

Steve -- no reason not to locate where you like it if most of your business is (as I suspect) on-line.

sand -- just FYI, I came across your blog at Delightful Blogs. As you might imagine, I'm very much into what is called "place blogging"; learning what it's like to be of a locale rather than simply visiting it.

Terrance T said...

Actually the proprietors are members of the Society for Creative Anachronisms, a recreation group of anything from 600 ad to 1600 ad, of any nationality that had contact with Europe, so we do have belly dancers, and samurai, and vikings, etc.

They actually moved out of state and are still in business, just online as far as I know at this point

Granny J said...

terrence -- thanks for the info. Sorry to hear that they moved on and elsewhere, but good to hear that they are still in biz. They had fascinating goodies!

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