Friday, 13 September 2019

Legendary Tipu Sultan's personal collections fetched roughly 7 million pounds in a London auction

Tipu Sultan's three-pounder cannon with field carriage

My fascination for the British has never diminished especially those eccentric aristocrats whose great forefathers came to India as traders in the 1700s and during their long stay here, through conceit and diabolism took over the fertile lands from the Maharajahs and Nawabs and their vast collections of jewelry. At India's expense, they vastly improved the British economy and pushed the GDP up from mere 2% to more than 20 % and saw to it India' economy plummeted from 23% down to mere 2%. The industrial revolution there was financed by the revenue from the Indian subcontinent.  Utterly improvised, when the British left India, it was in a chaotic state - a nation split into two; democratic India  and theocratic Pakistan. The latter has become a lawless land, a breeding ground  of hardcore terrorists run by mad mullas and equally mad politicians who are puppets of Pakistani military. The sufferers are ordinary citizens of Pakistan whose future is bleak as the country is heading toward bankruptcy.
Tipu Sultan of Mysore.
 The descendants of the British aristocrats who created the mess in India during the colonial period, it is often said, to meet their extravagant expenses in the present day tight financial scenario, turn to  artifacts, jewelry and antique items looted in India in the past. They do not mind selling them through auction houses.  The auction houses in England frequently put up antique Indian items for auction  and it never failed to attract the rich people in England and other places. Surprisingly, more often than not, they have never lost sight of artifacts, jewelry, swords, etc once possessed by the great warrior, poet and innovative  Tipu Sultan of Mysore who terrorized the East India company's army. His exploits against the British are quite well-known. Only in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war Tipu was felled down, He valiantly fought till he dropped dead on the battle field. Soon after his death in Srirangapatna in 1799 at the age of 48, his palace was looted by the British soldiers and higher officials. Some valuable items went to some of the high officials who had kept them as war souvenirs.  Tipu's famous remarks was : ‘I would rather live one day as a tiger than a lifetime as a sheep’. After his death, the British Army’s National Army Museum classified Tipu Sultan as one of the 10 Greatest enemies that the British Army ever faced including Napoleon Bonaparte and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Tipu's sword handle
Tipu was not only a great warrior, but also a man with innovative mind. He improved his father's rocket missiles and effectively used them against the British on the battle field. He had a separate division for the rocket-missiles. In the Srirangapatna fort one could see the rocket launch pads which are in a dilapidated state. His fascination for tiger (babri) is quite well-known. This is the reason why the tiger-stripe design adorned most art, banners as well as arms and weapons of his time, in particular, guns and sword handles. Now on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London is a mechanical tiger which was made by the French engineers at his request. 
Tipu Sultan's sword.
The Bonhams,  world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antique recently conducted an auction under Islamic art and India and it was well attended by the knowledgeable people. A total of 30 items from Tipu's personal collection came up for auction and among them a gem-studded sword, pistols, three-pounder cannon, quivers, and helmets got the attention of the people.  Can you imagine how much the auction had fetched? Believe it or not a whooping sum of £7.4 million was achieved  thorough the  Islamic and Indian sale

The highlight of this sale was a rare gem-set sword with tiger’s head pommel from Tipu royal regalia, estimated to be worth £60,000-80,000. It sold for £2,154,500.

Yet another highlight was  a three-pounder cannon with field carriage sold for £1,426,500 against an estimate of £40,000-60,000.

Apart, a unique item was a beautiful  two shot flintlock sporting gun from Tipu’s personal armory worth around £100,000-150,000 sold for £722,500.

The  amazing  collection includede  – featured sabers, trophy swords, arrow quivers, helmets, blunderbusses, fowling pieces and sporting guns. It is mentioned that each and every weapon was a work of art in its right.

The happiest man was none other than   Claire Penhallurick, 
Head of the Indian and Islamic Department at ''Bonhams'' who could not contain his joy at the outcome of the sale. Connoisseurs  from all around the world recognized the value and workmanship of these rare items from Tipu’s armory, a treasure trove of  astonishing works of art. No doubt the auction house was delighted with the sale as  they would have made a bundle out of it.
Claire Penhallurick ‘  .... Tipu Sultan’s arms and armor was of the greatest historical significance. For collectors, it was an unrivalled opportunity to acquire objects closely associated with this extraordinary, innovative man who continues to hold enormous fascination across the world.”