The Tipu Sultan Collection on Sotheby's London

A detail of field cannon from Tipu’s palace. Estimate ₤30,000–40,000

The Tipu Sultan Collection is offered for sale on May 25, on Sotheby’s auction in London. The series of four auctions will include works of art, weaponry, textiles, books and photographs relating to India and the Far East. The Tipu Sultan Collection includes an outstanding group of weaponry and other rarities captured after the British stormed Tipu Sultan’s palace at Seringapatam in May 1799. Tipu Sultan, “Tiger of Mysore” (reigned 1782-99), is one of the great heroes of Indian history. Tipu led a heroic struggle against the occupying power, and died with a sword in his hand defending the gates of his palace. His treasures ended up in the Royal collection at Windsor Castle, but a considerable quantity was distributed among the British officers who led the successful campaign.

Tipu adopted the tiger motif as his emblem of state, which was stamped on every item in court, including guns and the hilts of swords. One of the top-lots of the collection is an exotic gem-set trophy sword which is estimated to fetch ₤50,000-₤70,000. We can’t but mention a magnificent embroidered tent canopy stitched with tiger stripes in gold and silver thread from Tipu’s throne, which is estimated at ₤30,000-₤40,000.

One of the most important highlights in the collection is a silver-mounted flintlock sporting gun with stock carved in the form of a leaping tiger, by Asad Khan Muhammed, Mysore, South India, 1793-1794. It is estimated to fetch ₤80,000-₤120,000. Other highlights include two field cannons from Tipu’s palace with barrels in the form of roaring tigers (estimated at ₤30,000-₤40,000 and ₤25,000-₤35,000 respectively). Another highlight in the sale is a 17th-century Mughal dagger which is estimated at ₤80,000-₤120,000. The dagger has an agate and carved jade handle in the form of a ram, and the blade is stamped with the crown and initials of Charles I of England.

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Published in: on May 24, 2005 at 5:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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