Tipu Sultan’s gun up for auction

Auctioneers Bonhams, a longstanding exhibitor at The Game Fair each July is putting the personal sporting rifle of ‘The Tiger of Mysore’ under the hammer next week.

The 18th century ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in South India, Tipu Sultan, was ferocious and uncompromising in battle, earning him the nickname.

He was also a great administrative reformer, introducing a new coinage system and calendar and laying the foundations of the Mysore silk industry.

Hailed in India for his implacable and spirited resistance to British rule, Tipu built up not only a formidable arsenal for his armies but also a personal armoury.

A rare silver-mounted gold-koftgari steel repeating flintlock sporting gun from the latter – which is believed to have been found on the battlefield at Seringapatam – will be offered at Bonhams’ 342-lot Islamic and Indian Sale in London on Monday, October 25th.

Made by Sayyid Dawud in the Haidernagar workshop, it is estimated at £250,000 to £350,000.

Bonhams’ Head of Islamic and Indian Art, Oliver White, said: “This fascinating sporting gun bears the distinctive control mark of weapons made for Tipu’s personal use. Most items from Tipu’s personal armoury confiscated after the Siege of Seringapatam in May 1799, at which Tipu was killed, were in pristine condition.

“This gun, however, was already damaged when it was first acquired, suggesting that it was picked up from the battlefield itself. Intriguingly, it may even have been with the Sultan at the time of his death.”


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