Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Peacock Throne

The Peacock Throne was a famous jewelled throne that was the seat of the Mughal emperors of India. It was commissioned in the early 17th century by emperor Shah Jahan and was located in the Red Fort of Delhi. The original throne was captured and taken as a war trophy in 1739 by the Persian king Nader Shah, and has been lost ever since.

A 2000 report estimated the value of the Peacock Throne at $810m
Shah Jahan ruled in what is considered the Golden Age of the vast Mughal Empire, which covered most of the Indian subcontinent. It was ruled from the capital of Shahjahanabad and the imperial citadel Red Fort.
The Peacock Throne took seven years to complete. Large amounts of gold, precious stones and pearls were used, creating a masterpiece of Mughal workmanship that was unsurpassed before or since. It was only seen by a small minority of courtiers, aristocrats and visiting dignitaries.

The throne was even for the Golden Age Mughal standards supremely extravagant and cost twice as much as the construction of the Taj Mahal.
The throne was inaugurated with a triumphant ceremony on 22 March 1635.

Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb ascended the Peacock Throne and is considered the last of the strong Mughal emperors. By his death in 1707 the empire was in inexorable decline. Nadir Shah's invasion of India culminated in the Battle of Karnal on February 13, 1739 and the defeat of Muhammad Shah.
Nadir Shah entered Delhi and sacked the city. Persian troops left Delhi at the beginning of May 1739, taking with them the throne as a war trophy with many other treasures.

Among the known precious stones were the Akbar Shah diamond, Great Mogul diamond, Great Table diamond, Koh-i-Noor, Shah diamond, as well as the Samarian spinel and the Timur ruby.

An Imperial Mughal spinel necklace with eleven polished baroque spinels for a total weight of 1,131.59 carats. Three of the spinels are engraved. Two with the name of Emperor Jahangir (1569-1627), one with the three names of Emperor Jahangir, Emperor Shah Jahan and Emperor Alamgir, also known as Aurangzeb.

Portrait of Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum). She was the favourite wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. She died shortly after giving birth to her fourteenth child in 1631. The following year the emperor began work on the mausoleum that would house her body. The result was the world-famous Taj Mahal.
A Mughal masterpiece. The necklace features five pendant Golconda diamonds with emerald drops. The central stone weighs 28 carats and is the largest table-cut diamond known. The five surrounding stones—weighing 96 carats, collectively—comprise the largest known matching set of table-cut diamonds. From the 17th century.

A rare Mughal pale green jadeite snuff bottle. 1800-1900. The translucent stone is of pale icy green tone. 2 in. (5 cm.) high, pink tourmaline stopper and bone spoon.

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