A personal sword from the bedchamber of the last Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan was sold at an auction for a whopping GBP 14 million (approx Rs 142 crore) at Bonham's Islamic and Indian Art sale in London on Tuesday (May 23).
The sword attracted the high price because of its traceable close connection to Tipu, exceptional gold koftgari (the art of inlaying steel with gold by beating the metals) on the hilt (handle); and an inscription saying 'The Sword of the Ruler'.
#TipuSultan's sword sold for an eye popping INR 144.6 Crores.— India Muslim History (@syedurahman) May 23, 2023
The Bedchamber Sword of Tipu Sultan (reg. 1782-1799), a fine gold-koftgari-hilted steel sword (sukhela) has been sold for a staggering £14,080,900 pic.twitter.com/ASgrFtd5IF
After his death and British siege of Srirangapatna (Tipu's capital) in 1799, the sword was found in Tipu's bedchamber and presented to Major General David Baird by the East India Company soldiers as a token of courage and conduct during the attack.
For a little while, the sword was with fugitive Kingfisher boss Vijay Mallya before he gave it away in 2016 owing to bad luck.
Tipu Sultan has been a matter of debate due to conflicting views on his reign: some see him as a progressive patriot who resisted British colonisation, while others criticise his military aggression and treatment of religious and ethnic minorities. While both views have their share of valid arguments, the acceptance of Tipu being a bit of both is far from coming.
Much has been written and spoken about Tipu including the 1976 controversial best-selling book by Bhangwan S Gidwani, The Sword of Tipu Sultan: A Historical Novel about the life and legend of Tipu Sultan, and the subsequent Doordarshan TV adaptation, The Sword of Tipu Sultan. The screenplay of the Sanjay Khan-starrer series was written by Bhagwan S Gidwani himself.
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