Tipu Sultan : in objects and museum collections

Amongst Tipu's treasures : a Chintz tent, jewelled parts of his throne, a journal of dreams, a treatise on Hindu astrology and a rare example of a Platonic solid from the Indian subcontinent (in gold!).

“Tipu’s Tiger” is one of the most popular exhibits at the V&A, London. The mechanical wooden toy had once belonged to Tipu Sultan, and was even among the highlights of the Great Exhibition of 1851. To celebrate the death of Tipu, the ‘most formidable enemy of the East India Company’ in the Battle of Seringapatam in 1799, British soldiers ransacked the city, including Tipu’s treasury, armoury and the palace. They helped themselves to any “souvenirs” they could find. A “Prize Committee” was later established to divide Tipu’s treasures and items of everyday use amidst soldiers according to rank. The most important objects were divided between directors of the East India Company and the British royal family. On the first day itself, they managed to count 1.2 million gold coins. Today, Tipu’s possessions are in museum collections around the world, and often show up at auctions. Even now, they continue to fascinate viewers, reaffirming the significance of the battle & Tipu’s power over his enemies.

In this gallery, take a look at 18 beautiful objects along side their curatorial-descriptions.

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