A historic and significant Indian artefact, Tipu Sultan's gold-hilted sword, will be up for auction on May 23 at Bonhams, a privately owned international auction house in London. The sword that was once cherished by the Indian ruler and housed in his personal chambers, is currently displayed in a secured glass case within the private residence of a wealthy history enthusiast.
Tipu Sultan, who took over as the ruler of Mysore after his father's demise in 1782, possessed the sword from 1782 until 1799. A 100 cm long sword with a gold hilt, showcases the craftsmanship of Rajasthan's tribal artistry.
The single-edged steel blade has a flattened spine that transitions into a double-edged point, with a gold-overlaid inscription adorning the spine. The convex pommel cap features a hinged gold loop, and the hilt follows the typical tulwar design, characterised by its curved shape and a dished disc pommel. Inscripted with thuluth and bubri motifs, the sword is a grand testament to its glory.
Despite the controversies surrounding Tipu Sultan's legacy, he remains a significant figure in Indian history, celebrated for his valiant resistance against the British East India Company. This extraordinary sword is a prized possession that exemplifies the grandeur and splendour of Indian history.
Up for auction alongside Tipu Sultan's renowned gold-hilted sword are several other exquisite pieces of Islamic and Indian art. These include an important Iznik pottery water bottle (surahi) from Turkey circa 1575, a rare Safavid embroidered cotton panel from Caucasus, probably Azerbaijan, dating back to the 17th or 18th century, and a rare and early felt-backed kilim mat from Central Asia, dating back to the 1st to 3rd century. Each of these artefacts showcases the exquisite craftsmanship and artistry of their respective cultures and time periods.