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The Golden Age

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The Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor Diamond The Peacock Throne, called Takht-e Tvus (Persian: ±-5) in Persian, is the name originally given to a Mughal throne of India, which was later adopted and used to describe the thrones of the Persian emperors from Nader Shah Afsharl and erroneously to Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi whose throne was a reconstruction of the Achemenld throne.

History The name comes from the shape of a throne, having the figures of two peacocks standing behind It, their tails being expanded and the whole so Inlaid with sapphires, ubles, emeralds, pearls and other precious stones of appropriate colors as to represent life, created for the Mughal Badshah Shah Jahan of India In the 17th century, which was in his Imperial capital Delhi’s Public audience hall, the Dlwan l Am. Shah Jahan had the famous diamond placed in this throne.

The French jeweler Tavernier, who saw Delhi in 1665, described the throne as of the shape of a bed (a “takhteh” or platform), 6 ft. 4 ft. , supported by four golden feet, 20 to 25 in. high, from the bars above which rose twelve columns to support the canopy; the bars were decorated with crosses of rubies and emeralds, and also with iamonds and pearls. In all there were 108 large rubies on the throne, and 116 emeralds, but many of the latter had flaws. The twelve columns supporting the canopy were decorated with rows of splendid pearls, and Tavernier considered these to be the most valuable part of the throne. Estimates of its value varied between Rs. 40 million (Bernier) and Rs. 100 million (Tavernier).

Nader Shah invaded the Mughal Empire in 1738, and returned to Persia in 1739 with the original Peacock Throne as well as many other treasures taken from the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah. This consist of a very large amount of Indian wealth. According to an article by the Sunday Tribune, It was, accordingly, ordered that, in addition to the Jewels in the imperial jewel house, rubles, garnets, diamonds, rich pearls and emeralds in all weighing 230 kg should be brought for the inspection of the Emperor and they should be handed over to Bebadal Khan, the superintendent of the goldsmith’s department.

There was also to be given to him 1150 kg of pure gold… The throne was to be three yards In length, two-and-a-half in breadth and five in height and was to be set with the above mentioned Jewels. The outside of the canopy was to be of enamel work with ccasional gems, the Inside was to be thickly set with rubles, garnets and other Jewels, and It was to be supported by 12 emerald columns. On the top of each pillar there were to be two peacocks, thick-set with gems and between each two peacocks a tree set with rubles and diamonds, emeralds and pearls.

The ascent was to consist of three steps set with Jewels of fine water”. Of the 11 Jewelled recesses formed around It for cushions, the middle one was Intended for the seat It for Emperor. Among the historical diamonds decorating it were the famous Kohinoor (186 caratsl the Akbar argest spinel ruby in the world ” the Timur ruby (283 carats). A-20 couplet poem by the Mughal poet-laureate Quds’, praising the Emperor in emerald letters was embedded in the throne. On March 12, 1635, Emperor Shah Jahan ascended for the first time the newly completed Peacock Throne.

The French Jeweller and traveller, Jean Baptiste Tavennier, who had the opportunity to examine the throne at close quarters, confirms the court chronicler’s description… Its place in the two fortress- palaces of Delhi and Agra was usually at the Hall of Private Audience known as Diwan-l-Khas, although it was kept at the Hall of Public Audience known as the Diwan-l-Am when larger audience were expected. [l] After Nader Shah was assassinated in 1747, the original Peacock Throne disappeared from the records, stolen or dismantled in the chaos that ensued.

Rumors were generated claiming that the throne was given to the Ottoman Sultan. [2] However, later Iranian thrones were erroneously referred to as Peacock Thrones, although they resemble a chair rather than a platform. An example of such a throne is the Naderi throne, built in 1812 for Fath Ali Shah Qajar. Another Iranian throne, built in 1836 for Mohammad Shah Qajar, is in fact in the shape of platform and sports legs that uncannily resemble the Indian Mughal paintings of the original Peacock Throne, and may indeed incorporate parts of the original throne.

This throne, however, was known as the Takht-i Khurshid, or the “Sun Throne” (after a radiant sun disk affixed to it headboard). In time, this throne has come to commandeer the name of the legendary the Peacock Throne, although only the legs and some other unspecified parts may belong to the original throne. Although the Qajars referred to their throne as Peacock throne, the Pahlavi hrone was a reconstruction of the Achemenid throne. Since then, the term Peacock Throne has consistently been misused to refer to the throne of the Pahlavi monarchy.

The Koh-I-Noor The Kh-i Nјr (Telugu: Hindi: Persian/Urdu: “-i ) which means “Mountain of Light” in Persian, also spelled Koh-i-noor, Koh-e Noor or Koh-i-Nur, is a 105 carat (21. 6 g) diamond (in its most recent cut) that was once the largest known diamond in the world. The Kh-i Nјr originated in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India along with its double, the Darya-ye Noor (the “Sea of Light”). It has belonged to arious Hindu, Persian, Rajput, Mughal, Turkic, Afghan, Sikh and British rulers who fought bitterly over it at various points in history and seized it as a spoil of war time and time again.

It was most recently seized by the East India Company and became part of the British Crown Jewels when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877. It was traditionally known as Syamantaka-mani and later Madnayak or the King of Jewels, before being renamed Kohinoor in 18th century by Afghan Ahmad Shah Abdali. The diamond is currently set into the Crown of Queen Elizabeth and on display at the Tower of London.

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