Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/54

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41
PERSIA.

moment when he has just pierced a stag with a javelin. Several other pictures exhibit females dancing.

At the extremity of this hall is placed the peacock throne. It seems to have been made in imitation of Nadir's. This throne, as Morier informs us, is raised three feet above the floor, and seems to be an oblong square; twelve feet in length and eight in breadth: a high balustrade runs round it, and its extremities are adorned with vases and other ornaments. The back of the takti-thaous is very high: on each side there is a pillar supporting a bird, probably a peacock, glistening with precious stones and holding a ruby in his bill. The canopy of this throne consists of an oval ornament, from which diamonds throw a thousand brilliant rays. On this throne the king is seated, upon a cushion embroidered with fine pearls. His appearance at the Nowroose, or festival of the new year, when he receives the homage of all his subjects, is thus described by Sir Robert Porter :—

"He was one blaze of jewels, which literally dazzled the sight on first looking at him. A lofty tiara of three elevations was on his head, which shape appears to have been long peculiar to the crown of the great king. It was entirely composed of thickly-set diamonds, pearls, rubies, and emeralds, so exquisitely disposed as to form a mixture of the most beautiful colours, in the brilliant light reflected from its surface. Several black feathers, like the heron plume, were intermixed with the resplendent aigrettes of this truly imperial diadem, Whose bending points were finished with pear-formed pearls of an immense size. His vesture was of gold tissue, nearly covered with a similar disposition of jewellery; and crossing the shoulders were two strings of pearls, probably the largest in the world. I call his dress a vesture, because it sat close to his person from the neck to the bottom of the waist, showing a shape as noble as his air. At that point it devolved downward in loose drapery like the usual Persian garment, and was of the same costly materials with the vest. But for splendour, nothing could exceed the broad bracelets round his arms and the belt which encircled his waist; they actually blazed like fire, when the rays of the sun met them; and when we know the names derived from such excessive lustre, we cannot be surprised at seeing such an effect. The jewelled band on the right arm was called the Mountain of Light, and that on the left, the Sea of Light; which superb diamonds the rapacious conquests of Nadir Shah placed in the Persian regalia.

"The throne from which Feth Ali Shah viewed his assembled subjects was a platform of pure white marble, raised a few steps from the ground, and carpetted with shawls and cloth of gold,