CHARDIN, Jean-Baptiste (Sir John Chardin)

CHARDIN, Jean-Baptiste (Sir John Chardin). Paris 16.11.1643 — London 5.1.1713. French Huguenot Jeweller and Traveller. Sent to the east by his father, the Parisian jeweller Daniel Ch. in 1664 he visited Persia (entered the service of Shah Abbas II in Isfahan), Surat and other places in India in 1667 and again Persia, returned to France in 1670. The situation was difficult for Protestants and soon he returned to the east, travelling via Smyrna – Istambul – Black Sea – Mingrelia – Armenia to Isfahan, where he lived 1674-77 visiting many parts of the country. Thne to India and finally to London in 1681. He remained there, entering 1683 the service of E.I.C., from 1684 its agent in the Netherlands for a few years, then devoted his time to writing and studies. In London he married a Normandian woman and had two sons and two daughters. His travel book is a mine of information and anecdotes. He gave the first description of the ruins of Persepolis. He was much appreciated by Montesquieu, Rousseau, Gibbon and Sir William Jones. The planned vol. 4 never appeared.

Publications: Le couronnement de Soleîman troisième, roi de Perse. 1671, German transl. 1681.

Le journal du voyage du Chevalier Chardin en Perse et aux Indes orientales. 1. L. 1686, Dutch transl. 1687, English 168?, then complete French in 3 cols. Amsterdam 1711, several editions, e.g. a commented ed. in 10 vols. by Langlès in 1811.

Sources: L. Valensi, D.O.L.F. 195; *J. Emerson, Encyclopædia Iranica 5, 1991, 369-377; Wikipedia with picture.


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