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Ring and sword of Tipu Sultan

 

Diameter: 3.240 cm (ring)
Length: 97.500 cm (sword)

Ring: Gift of Nancy, Dowager Countess of Enniskillen in memory of her husband Captain David Lowry Cole MBE, 6th Earl of Enniskillen (1918-89)
Sword: Gift of Maj-Gen Augustus W.H. Meyrick

Asia OA 1997,5-2.1;Asia OA 1878,11-1.450

Enlightenment: Trade-Discovery

    Ring and sword of Tipu Sultan

    Seringapatam, Karnataka, India, AD 1790s

    Like his father before him, Tipu Sultan, the Muslim ruler of the South Indian state of Mysore (now part of Karnataka state), played the opposing forces of the East India Company, the French, and the Marathas off against each other in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Finally, the British under the command of Lord Mornington, later the Marquess of Wellesley, stormed Seringapatam, Tipu's capital, in May 1799, defeated the Sultan's forces and killed him. The battle marked a crucial turning point in the East India Company from a defensive to an offensive military policy in India.

    This ring and sword are trophies of the Battle of Seringapatam. The sword bears an inscription indicating that it comes from Tipu Sultan's armoury, whereas the ring came with a label that states that it was taken from the finger of Tipu Sultan at the battle by Arthur Henry Cole, Earl of Enniskillen.

    H.D. Sharma, The real Tipu: a brief history (Varanasi, Rishi Publications, 1991)

    A. Buddle, P. Rohatgi and I.G. Brown, The tiger and the thistle: Tip (Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, 1999)

    M. Archer, Tippoos Tiger, Victoria and Albert Museum, Monographs no. 10 (London, H.M.S.O., 1959)

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    Indian art in close-up detail, £14.99

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