India was a treasure trove before the British colonial force exercised their relentless hostility on the natives and looted most of the precious antiques that India boasted of. Not stopping only here, in persistent brazen rejection of the pleas by Indian government to return the same, the British rather consolidated the fact that those Indian treasures were really worth their salt and now quintessential to attract Asian visitors. We, however, can’t blame the British alone to loot our cherished treasures; there were other outside forces too that infiltrated and invaded our country dating back from 326 B.C. and ripped us off the antiques.
Here’s laid out the list of some irrevocable Indian Treasures lost to the colonial forces:
The Peacock Throne – the most coveted piece of all stolen Indian Treasures
The Peacock Throne was envisaged and brought to shape by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. This beautiful throne was embellished with pearls and precious treasures built in the shape of a peacock. Rubies, Garnets, Diamonds, Emeralds were used in the throne to create the colors that of a peacock. During Nadir Shah, the Persian ruler’s invasion in the year 1739, India lost the Peacock Throne to the plundering forces. Nadir Shah brought the throne to Iran and made a replica of it only to dismantle and distribute the precious stones thereafter. The recovered portions are made up into the throne now which rests in the Tehran Museum of Iran.
The Kohinoor Diamond
All the invaders from time immemorial have outlined their plundering strategies to take away Indian treasures. Here yet, Nadir Shah plays a pivotal role in grasping the diamond after defeating Sultan Mahamad in the year 1739. His general Shah Shuja Durrani then retrieved the diamond from his clutches after his assassination and brought it back to India. He handed it over to Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
In the year 1849, the British colonial forces took over Punjab and confiscated Kohinoor as war trophy. The Kohinoor was then handed to Queen Victoria in the year 1850 and she was then seen to be wearing the diamond in her crown occasionally. The legacy is still carried over and Kohinoor became the part of British crown jewels.
The Patiala Necklace
In the year 1928, House of Cartier created the Patiala Necklace. This Indian treasure with profound beauty was World’s 7th largest diamond ‘De Beers’ weighing about 428 carat pre-cut and 234.65 carat finally. It was made for and named after Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. It then went missing in 1948 and quite enigmatically, it reappeared in the year 1982 to be sold in a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva. The deal was pegged at $3.16 million. The necklace was then decomposed in the year 2002, the residues were restored to resemble the original by Cartier itself. This Indian treasure is now up for exhibition in Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
The statue of a high repute from the period 500-700 AD was found in Sultanganj, a town in Bhagalpur district of Bihar during the construction of Railways in 1861. Thereafter it was immediately sent to Birmingham by the railway engineer E.B Harris. Now the precious Indian treasure rests in Birmingham Museum and art gallery.
The Mechanical Tiger of Tipu
This tiger was found by the British after they barge into Tipu Sultan’s summer palace after defeating him in the year 1799. It is a toy tiger which expresses its angst against a European man as its prey. In East India House, it was first let out in the public glare in the year 1880, later it was transferred Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Royal Jade Wine Cup of Shah Jahan
Made from pure Jade imported from either Central Asia or China, the Royal Wine cup belonged to Shah Jahan. It satiated his fondness for arts and crafts all right. The cup dates back to 1657 CE. It was later captured by Colonel Charles Seton Guthrie followed by the 1857 revolt. In the same line as many other Indian artifacts; it now rests in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
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