Disappearing Peacock Throne

When it comes to India, we all think of the Taj Mahal, the mausoleum built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife. The white marble building is a symbol of love in the minds of many people. The building is carefully constructed using marble from India, jade from China, agate from Yemen, gems from Sri Lanka, coral from Arabia, architects, inlayists, calligraphers, and carvers from India, Persia, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Arabia There are more than 20,000 masons in total, and it took 22 years to complete it. It can be called a masterpiece of world architectural art.

But in fact, many people don’t know that Sha Jahan’s masterpiece is not only the Taj Mahal, but also the Peacock Throne.

forgotten treasure
For the Mughal emperor, the Peacock Throne was a sign of power. Shah Jahan’s father Jahangir had already started to build an unprecedented throne during his reign, but it was just because the amount of work was too great. It may also be because the national strength was not at its peak at that time, and there were not enough jewels, so it was not completed when Jahangir died.

It’s just that Sha Jahan at that time did not have the khan throne. He was only the third son of Jahangir. After a bloody fight, Sha Jahan had this name, which means: “King of the World”. And his wife, the famous Persian beauty Ajman Banu, also won the reputation of “the crown of the court”. She was the emperor’s favorite woman, and she was also honored after her death. There are many versions of her love story with Shah Jahan. For example, the two met in the people, they were childhood sweethearts, and they lived through adversity together. The emperor loved her like a treasure. It is said that this beauty is also proficient in piano, chess, calligraphy, painting and dancing, and can also give the emperor some useful advisors, so the emperor cannot do without her for a moment. Unfortunately, this beautiful woman died at the age of 39 because of puerperal fever. Her only request before her death was that she hoped that the emperor would not marry another woman if she really loved her, so the king of a country agreed with tears and built the magnificent Taj Mahal to express his condolences to his wife.

But after careful consideration, although this woman who is envied by the world has the infinite honor of her husband, she has given birth to fourteen children in her life, and because she has been by the emperor’s side all her life, the emperor has been carrying out his military career, everywhere Fighting in the South and the North, wanting to live like this is not an ideal and beautiful life for a woman who has been in a state of pregnancy and childbirth. This Persian beauty has lost her life in such long-term travel and frequent childbirth. In modern people From the perspective of his eyes, he really doesn’t think it is a lucky thing.

A pencil case and inkwell in the Mughal period, using gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and lacquerware, pencil case (4X30.6cm); inkwell (11.4×5.4cm).

Shah Jahan moved the capital from Agra to Delhi after the death of a beloved woman, perhaps to leave the sad place. In addition to starting the construction of the mausoleum for his beloved wife, he also began to continue the unfinished business of his father: the completion of the Peacock Throne. The throne used a total of 1150 kilograms of gold and 230 kilograms of precious stones. It was completed by the art masters and the best craftsmen at that time. It is about 1.8 meters long, 1.2 meters wide and 0.65 meters high. There is a top of the throne supported by 12 pillars. The canopy, these pillars and the four legs of the throne are inlaid with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls in abundance. On the canopy stands a peacock made of gold, set with huge rubies and sapphires, with eyes set with diamonds, surrounded by clusters of flowers made of gold and precious stones. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a French jeweler and traveler, once entered the court of the Mughal Dynasty when he traveled to India in the 17th century, saw it with his own eyes, and recorded it in detail in his travel notes. among. According to Tavernier’s account, a total of 108 red gemstones were inlaid on the Peacock Throne, each weighing more than 100 carats, and even more than 200 carats, including 116 emeralds, each weighing 30 to 60 carats. Also hanging from the throne are strings of round pearls, each weighing between 6 and 10 carats. If the Taj Mahal is a treasure of Mughal architectural art, then the Peacock Throne is the crystallization of Mughal wealth, because it uses a large number of jewels gathered in the Mughal Dynasty, although the volume is countless times smaller than the Taj Mahal, but The cost is four times that of the Taj Mahal.

At the same time, there is a baguette-shaped diamond with a slightly pale yellow color. This diamond is suspended from the throne by a gold wire, so that the emperor can see it and play with it at any time. The diamond, named “Shah”, is now in Russia. It also comes from the Golconda diamond mine in India. About 3cm long and weighing 88.7 carats, the Shah diamond is not the largest diamond in the world and has a slight yellowish tinge, but this giant diamond has left three inscriptions on it. These three inscriptions are all the handwriting of the owner who owns it – leaving his mark on the gemstone is also a means of swearing sovereignty and showing his power. Because it originally belonged to the maharaja of Ahmednaq in northern India, the maharaja engraved on it “Burhan-Nicham-Shah II, 1000 (ie 1591 AD)”. Later, the diamond fell into the hands of the Mughal emperor, and Shah Jahan, who owned it, engraved on another facet “Son of Jahangir – Shah Jahan, 1051 (that is, 1641 AD) )” – also from this time, this diamond began to be called “Shah”. The last inscription belongs to the King of Persia: “Qajar Fattah al-Arishah”. It is important to know that diamonds are the hardest natural minerals, so how do you engrave on them? It turns out that the method used by Indian gem artisans is to use a thin stick to dip some extremely fine diamond powder on the diamond’s cut surface and grind it finely, so as to realize the wish of the monarch to have a name on this world-renowned gem.

After the Mughal emperor’s son Jahan Shah took the throne, he personally engraved “Jahan Shah, son of Jahang Shah, 1051 (ie 1641 AD)” on the other crystal face of the diamond. Hence the name “Shah”. Present in Russia.

The princes and nobles of the Mughal Dynasty wore necklaces. Necklace with diamonds and gemstones.

A necklace worn by the nobles of the Mughal dynasty. The necklace features spinels, natural pearls, diamonds and emeralds.

However, the king of Persia did not become the ultimate owner of this diamond. In 1829, because Persia was forced to cede the fertile land in the north to the then Tsarist Russia, which caused dissatisfaction among the people, the Russian ambassador to Persia was assassinated in Tehran, so the Tsar Nicholas I threatened to take revenge on Persia. For peace and security, Persia sent Shah diamonds to Russia to dedicate to the tsar to appease his anger. Since then, the Shah diamond has been included in Russia’s national treasury, and it still exists in Russia today. It is currently in the Moscow Kremlin. In 1971, the Soviet Union also issued a stamp for this diamond.

Power and desire to destroy
The famous diamond on the Peacock Throne is naturally not only a shah, but on its armrests are also inlaid the “Mountain of Light”, which was once the largest diamond in the world, and the “Sea of ​​Light”, which is still the largest pink diamond in the world. “. In the famous American drama “Game of Thrones”, the Iron Throne of King’s Landing has made many people who pursue power and power die for it, and how is this splendid Peacock Throne created by Shah Jahan so scorchingly attractive Eyes, and how powerful and powerful is the Mughal emperor sitting on it, and how decisive is it to kill?

But no matter how brave the lion is, it will grow old one day. By 1657 AD, Shah Jahan was too old to be in control of his sons, terribly ill. Just as he and his brothers fought bloody slaughter for the throne when he was young, so he and the four sons of Ajman Banu waged a war for the throne, and the kingdom was plunged into turmoil. Such a scene can’t help but remind people of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, which is as famous as the Mughal Dynasty. The Ottoman sultans did not designate heirs during their lifetimes, but they let their sons kill each other and fight each other as if they were “raising gu”. , the one who wins in the end can win the position of the lord of the empire, while the losers are mostly killed, or better than exile. Therefore, the prince’s life is not easy, it is the real wealth and danger seeking. This method is generally considered to be a method of selecting the successor of the empire with high quality and efficiency, but it also often brings hidden dangers to the chaos and collapse of the kingdom, which is also confirmed by the later stories of the Mughal Dynasty.

Shah Jahan’s wife Ajman.

Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of the concubine with a huge amount of money. The construction process of his mausoleum is very good, and large emerald stone flowers are used in the mausoleum.

Aurangzeb, the third son of Shah Jahan and Ajman Banu, was victorious, the prince killed his three brothers and imprisoned the old father Shah Jahan in the palace of the old capital of Agra middle. The once mighty old king looked at his beloved wife’s mausoleum through a small carved window every day for the rest of his life. Some people say that his eyes were broken in the end, so he looked at the Taj Mahal with the refraction of the Shah diamond. The shadow of , died in depression after several years of captivity. However, this love story that has been praised by the world for hundreds of years, although sad, still has a relatively good ending. Shah Jahan was buried beside his wife after his death.

His son Aurangzeb became the kingdom’s successor and a famous tyrant of the Mughal dynasty. As soon as he lived 89 years old, the power of the kingdom reached its peak in his hands for a while, but it also fell rapidly behind him. Aurangzeb’s severe domestic political oppression led to constant domestic resistance. This bellicose man went on expeditions everywhere. In the last course of his life, he also expressed his remorse to his son, feeling that he had been doing a futile thing all his life, but remorse could not bring any help to the monarch and his kingdom . In 1707, Aurangzeb died of illness on the front line of the war. The Mughal dynasty collapsed and the country fell into a melee. Persia and Afghanistan, which had long been eyeing the Mughals, also took this opportunity to invade. In 1738, the Persian king invaded. Nader Shah led 50,000 troops into Delhi and looted the city. After the Persian army withdrew, the Durrani Empire of Afghanistan went south to India 10 times. By 1757, the Afghans had occupied Punjab, Kashmir and Sindh in the Indus Valley. And while everyone was fighting like this, the British came and defeated everyone.

The Peacock Throne, built by Shah Jahan with all his might, disappeared into the dust of history. It was originally placed in the throne room of the Red Fort in Delhi, but when Nadir Shah sacked Delhi, he also took the throne apart and brought it back to Iran. Although the Indians later made a fake Peacock Throne, but due to the depletion of national strength, the treasury has long been unable to produce decent treasures, so it is just an increase of bitterness in vain.

Such a throne, which gathers the most dazzling treasures in the world, was made known to people in the West through the notes of European travelers and merchants, just as the travel notes of “Marc Polo” made people think that the far east is full of gold, and people at that time knew about it. It also condenses countless imaginations of the huge wealth of the East on the Peacock Throne, which makes Europeans describe the deep palace vision of the Far East countless times. The dream, separated by a layer of veil, cannot be touched.

But it is not a blessing to have such a treasure. Sha Jahan, who built the Peacock Throne, was imprisoned to death by his own son, and permanently left the throne where he once sat on the top to handle political affairs and accept the adoration of the ministers, and even even His wife’s mausoleum can only be seen from a distance, neither approached nor touched, only the Shah diamond, which used to be by his side, can be held in the palm of his hand. Aurangzeb, who got the throne of the country and the emperor, although he had a long life and a high position of power, depleted his national strength in military and military expeditions, which made the country’s fortune turn from prosperity to decline, making the ancestral empire eventually destroyed by himself. hand. And Nadir Sha, the Persian god of war who robbed the Peacock Throne, did not get the favor of fate because of the throne and the three famous Silmarils.

But as long as the gems are still glowing and coveted by humans, their story will never end.