A Peep into Royal Treasuries - from Harper's
The Hasné, or imperial treasury, of Constantinople, contains a costly
collection of ancient armor and coats of mail worn by the Sultans. The
most remarkable is that of Sultan Murad II., the conqueror of Bagdad.
The head-piece of this suit is of gold and silver, almost covered with
precious stones; the diadem surrounding the turban is composed of three
emeralds of the purest water and large size, while the collar is formed
of twenty-two large and magnificent diamonds.
In the same collection is a curious ornament, in the shape of an
elephant, of massive gold, standing on a pedestal formed of enormous
pearls placed side by side. There is also a table, thickly inlaid with
Oriental topazes, presented by the Empress Catherine of Russia to the
Vizier Baltadji Mustapha, together with a very remarkable collection of
ancient costumes, trimmed with rare furs, and literally covered with
precious stones. The divans and cushions, formerly in the throne-room of
the Sultans, are gorgeous; the stuff of which the cushions are made is
pure tissue of gold, without any mixture of silk whatever, and is
embroidered with pearls, weighing about thirty-six hundred drachmas.
Children's cradles of solid gold, inlaid with precious stones; vases of
immense value in rock-crystal, gold, and silver, incrusted with rubies,
emeralds, and diamonds; daggers, swords, and shields, beautifully
wrought and richly jewelled—all tell a story of ancient grandeur and
wealth, when the Ottoman power was a reality, and Western Europe
trembled before the descendant of the son of Amurath.
Notwithstanding these jewelled riches of Turkey, however, they are
surpassed by the splendor of the Shah of Persia's treasury, the contents
of which have accumulated in successive periods.
Nadir Shah of Persia, in the first half of the eighteenth century,
amassed enormous riches by the spoils of war. He is said to have had a
tent made so magnificent and costly as to appear almost fabulous. The
outside was covered with fine scarlet broadcloth, the lining was of
violet-colored satin, on which were representations of all the birds and
beasts in the creation, with trees and flowers; the whole made of
pearls, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, amethysts, and other precious
stones; and the tent poles were decorated in like manner. On both sides
of the peacock throne was a screen, on which were the figures of two
angels in precious stones.
This splendid tent was displayed on all festivals in the public hall at
Herat during the remainder of Nadir Shah's reign.
It would be impossible to describe in a short article the splendor of
the Persian treasury. One extraordinary object may be mentioned: a
two-foot globe covered with jewels from the north pole to the
extremities of the tripod on which the gemmed sphere is placed. His
Majesty had coats embroidered with diamonds and emeralds, rubies,
pearls, and garnets; he had jewelled swords and daggers without number;
so because he did not know what else to do with the rest of his jewels,
he ordered the globe to be constructed, and covered with gems; the
overspreading sea to be of emeralds, and the kingdoms of the world to be
distinguished by jewels of different color.