Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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DEHLI AND AGRA                          269

roupies, and that a Kourour is a hundred Lecques; so that
the throne is estimated at forty millions of roupies,^ worth
sixty millions of pounds [livres] or thereabouts. It was
constructed by Chah-Jehan, the father of Aureng-Zebe, for
the purpose of displaying the immense quantity of precious
stones accumulated successively in the treasury from the
spoils of ancient Rajas and Patans, and the annual presents
to the Monarch, which every Omrah is bound to make
on certain festivals. The construction and woi'kmanship
of the throne are not worthy of the materials; but two
peacocks, covered with jewels and pearls, are well con¬
ceived and executed.^    They were made by a workman of

astonishing powers, a Frenchman by birth, named.....•''

who, after defrauding several of the Princes of Europe, by
means of false gems, which he fabricated with peculiar
skill, sought refuge in the Great Mogol's court, where he
made his fortune.

At the foot of the throne were assembled all the
Omralis, in splendid apparel, upon a platform surrounded
by a silver railing, and covered by a spacious canopy of
brocade with deep fringes of gold. The pillars of the hall
were hung with brocades of a gold ground, and flowered
satin canopies were raised over the whole expanse of the
extensive apartment fastened with red silken cords, from
which were suspended large tassels of silk and gold.    The

^ Which, at 2s. 3d. to the rupee, would amount to ;^4,5oo,ooo.
Tavernier's corrected vslnalion v/a% (see Appendix iii.) ^{^12,037,500.

^ See Appendix III. p. 474, for Tavernier's account of this throne
(Travels, vol. i. pp. 381-385) the remains of which, now in the Shah of
Persia's possession in the Treasury at Teheran, have been valued at
about ^2,600,000 (S. G. W. Benjamin in the volume on 'Persia' in
the Story of the Nations series) ; and truly styled, although but a mere
wreck of the throne as seen by Tavernier and Bernier, ' the grandest
object of sumptuary art ever devised by man.' The throne was part
of the plunder which Nadir Shah took with him to Persia when he
sacked Delhi in 1739.

* Bernier does not tell us his name, but Steuart, in his edition of part
of this book, Calcutta, 1826 (see Bibliography, No. 18), gives it as La
Grange.    I have not been able to verify this.
  Page 269