Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/53

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can in the least affect the prohibition to remain in the streets through which these ladies are to pass; every male who has attained the age of seven years must retire. This coorook obliged Chardin to lie from home twice during his residence in Persia.



The court of Teheran exhibits a luxury and a magnificence, that bespeak a great monarch. When Feth Ali Shah appears in all his royal ornaments, it is impossible to look at his person if the sun shines upon him. The throne, known by the appellation of Takti-thaous, the peacock throne, is particularly superb; it is said to have cost one hundred thousand toomauns, or upwards of £90,000 sterling.

When Nadir Shah, in his invasion of India, had made himself master of Delhi, he secured for his share of the booty all the precious stones collected during the space of more than three centuries by the Great Moguls, and carried off great part of them into Persia. He applied them to the construction of a large tent of the most extraordinary magnificence, and of a throne and canopy, supported by four pillars and surmounted by four peacocks, whence it is called the peacock throne. It was of massive gold, and entirely covered with precious stones. At Nadir's death, these riches were partly dispersed, and the rest preserved in the royal treasury. The latter Feth Ali Shah now possesses; and since his accession, he has recovered many articles which had been carried off during preceding revolutions.

When the king of Persia gives a solemn audience, all his guards, ranged in long files, are under arms: they occupy all the courts preceding the hall in which the throne stands. The fine horses, covered with harness and housings, enriched with precious stones, are fastened by thick cords of silk and gold to rings likewise of gold fixed in the ground: near them are implements for the stable of the same metal. Lions and bears, tied to posts, also figure in these parades. The court, which immediately conducts to the hall of audience, is filled with the chief dignitaries of the empire most magnificently dressed.

The divan-kaneh, or hall of audience, has usually several floors, and is quite open in front. At Teheran, the kalvet-kaneh withdrawing-room, is entirely painted and gilt: several pictures form its chief ornaments. One, placed on the left of the window, represents a battle between the Persians and the Russians, in which, as may naturally be supposed, the former have the advantage. The king is there seen on horseback. Another, opposite to the preceding, represents Feth Ali hunting, at the