A sword once belonging to the renowned Indian ruler and commander Tipu Sultan has been sold at an auction house in London for a staggering £14 million ($17.4 million), breaking the record for an Indian and Islamic object sold at auction. The sword, among a collection of weapons seized from Tipu Sultan’s palace after his defeat by the British in 1799, garnered seven times the expected price.
Exquisite Sword with Rich History and Divine Decorations:
Bonhams, the auction house responsible for the sale, described the sword as an exquisite piece adorned with gold calligraphy on its handle, featuring five divine qualities and two invocations to God. Crafted by Mughal swordsmiths in the style of German blades introduced to India in the 16th century, the sword bears a Persian inscription declaring it as “The sword of the ruler.”
Significant Relic Linked to Tipu Sultan’s Legacy :
CEO Bruno Vinciguerra of Bonhams expressed his admiration for the exceptional historical significance of the sword, proclaiming it to be the most significant weapon associated with Tipu Sultan that remains in private possession. Vinciguerra emphasized its close connection to the ruler, its impeccable provenance dating back to the day it was captured, and the remarkable craftsmanship that went into its creation, making it an extraordinarily unique and desirable artifact.
Triumphant Auction Result and Acclaim for the Sword’s History :
Nima Sagharchi, the Group Head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams, hailed the sword’s extraordinary history, outstanding provenance, and unrivaled craftsmanship. The intense bidding battle between two phone bidders and an attendee in the room was not unexpected, given the sword’s compelling attributes, leading to the auction’s triumphant conclusion.
Tipu Sultan: The Tiger of Mysore and a Pioneer in Warfare :
Tipu Sultan, known as the “Tiger of Mysore,” reigned as an Indian Muslim ruler from 1782 to 1799. He achieved fame as a skilled commander, securing numerous victories and introducing rocket artillery to wars, propelling Mysore to become India’s most dynamic economy.
Token of Courage Presented to British Major General David Baird :
Following Tipu Sultan’s demise, his sword, discovered in his palace’s private quarters, was presented as a token of his courage to British Major General David Baird. This symbolic gesture further adds to the sword’s historical significance and its journey through time.