|Source: Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, A'IN-I AKBARI (3 vols.). Vol. 1 trans. H. Blochmann, 1927. Vol. 1, pp. 19-21. Ed. *ZDJ*|
Book 1, Chapter 6: Banwari
|An abbreviation for banwari
(testing of gold). Although in this country clever sayrafis are
able from experience to tell the degree of fineness by the colour and the
brightness of the metal, the following admirable rule has been introduced
for the satisfaction of others.
To the ends of a few long needles, made of brass or such-like metal, small pieces of gold are affixed, having their degree of fineness written on them. When the workmen wish to assay a new piece of gold, they first draw with it a few lines on a touchstone, and some other lines with the needles. By comparing both sets of lines, they discover the degree of fineness of the gold. It is, however, necessary that the lines be drawn in the same manner, and with the same force, so as to avoid deception.
To apply this rule, it is necessary to have gold of various degrees of fineness. This is obtained as follows. They melt together one masha of pure silver with the same quantity of the best copper; and let it get solid. This mixture they again melt with 6 mashas of pure gold of 10.5 degrees of fineness. Of this composition one masha is taken, and divided into sixteen parts of half a surkh each. If now 7.5 surkhs of pure gold (of 10.5 degrees) are mixed with one of the sixteen parts of the composition, the touch of the new mixture will only be 10.25 ban. Similarly, 7 surkhs pure gold and two parts of the composition melted together, will give gold of 10 ban; 6.5 s. pure gold and three parts composition, 9.75 ban; 6 s. gold and four parts composition, 9.5 ban; 5.5 s. gold and five parts composition, 9.25 ban; 5 s. gold and six parts composition, 9 ban; 4.5 s. gold and seven parts composition, 8.75 ban; 4 s. gold and eight parts composition, 8.5 ban; 3.5 s. gold and nine parts composition, 8.25 ban; 3 s. gold and ten parts composition, 8 ban; 2.5 s. gold and eleven parts composition, 7.75 ban; 2 s. gold and twelve parts composition, 7.5 ban; 1.5 s. gold and thirteen parts composition, 7.25 ban; 1 s. gold and fourteen parts composition, 7 ban; and lastly, .5 s. gold and fifteen parts composition, 6.75 ban. Or generally, every additional half surkh (or one part) of the composition diminishes the fineness of the gold by a quarter ban, the touch of the composition itself being 6.5 ban.
If it be required to have a degree less than 6.5 ban, they mix together .5 surkh of the first mixture which consisted, as I said, of silver and copper, with 7.5 surkhs of the second composition (consisting of gold, copper, and silver), which, when melted together, gives gold of 6.25 ban; and if 1 surkh of the first mixture be melted together with 7 surkhs of the second composition, the result will be 6 ban; and if they require still baser compositions, they increase the mixtures by half surkhs. But in the Banwari, they reckon to 6 bans only, rejecting all baser compositions. All this is performed by a man who understands the tests.
3. The Amin. He must possess impartiality and integrity, so that friends and enemies can be sure of him. Should there be any differences, he assists the darogha and the other workmen, maintains that which is right, and prevents quarrels.
4. The Mushrif. He writes down the daily expenditure in an upright and practical manner, and keeps a systematic day-book.
5. The Merchant. He buys up gold, silver, and copper, by which he gains a profit for himself, assists the department, and benefits the revenues of the State. Trade will flourish when justice is everywhere to be had, and when rulers are not avaricious.
6. The Treasurer. He watches over the profits, and is upright in all his dealings.
The salaries of the first four, and the sixth, officers differ from each other, the lowest of them holding the rank of an Ahadi.
7. The Weighman. He weighs the coins. For weighing 100 jalali gold-muhrs he gets 1.75 dams; for weighing 1000 rupees, 6.5 dams; and for weighing 1000 copper dams, .125 of a dam; and, after this rate, according to the quantity.
8. The Melter of the Ore. He makes small and large trenches in a tablet of clay, which he besmears with grease, and pours into them the melted gold and silver, to cast them into ingots. In the case of copper, instead of using grease, it is sufficient to sprinkle ashes. For the above mentioned quantity of gold, he gets 2.6 dams; for the same quantity of silver, 5 dams and 13.25 jetals; for the same quantity of copper, 4 dams And 21.5 jetals.
9. The Platemaker. He makes the adulterated gold into plates of six or seven mashas each, six fingers in length and breadth; these he carries to the assay master, who measures them in a mould made of copper, and stamps such as are suitable, in order to prevent alterations and to show the work done. He receives as wages for the above-mentioned quantity of gold, 42.33 dams.
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