1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Amber (city)

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AMBER, a ruined city of India, the ancient capital of Jaipur state in the Rajputana agency. The name of Amber is first mentioned by Ptolemy. It was founded by the Minas and was still flourishing in A.D. 967. In 1037 it was taken by the Rajputs, who held it till it was deserted. In 1728 it was supplanted by the modern city of Jaipur, from which it is 5 m. distant. The picturesque situation of Amber at the mouth of a rocky mountain gorge, in which nestles a lovely lake, has attracted the admiration of all travellers, including Jacquemont and Heber. It is now only remarkable for its architecture. The old palace begun by Man Sing in 1600 ranks second only to Gwalior. The chief building is the Diwan-i-Khas built by Mirza Raja. “No sooner” (it is related) “had Mirza completed the Diwan-i-Khas than it came to the ears of the emperor Jehangir that his vassal had surpassed him in magnificence, and that this last great work quite eclipsed all the marvels of the imperial city; the columns of red sandstone having been particularly noticed as sculptured with exquisite taste and elaborate detail. In a fit of jealousy the emperor commanded that this masterpiece should be thrown down, and sent commissioners to Amber charged with the execution of this order; whereupon Mirza, in order to save the structure, had the columns plastered over with stucco, so that the messengers from Agra should have to acknowledge to the emperor that the magnificence, which had been so much talked of, was after all pure invention. Since then his apathetic successors have neglected to bring to light this splendid work; and it is only by knocking off some of the plaster that one can get a glimpse of the sculptures, which are perfect as on the day they were carved.”