Tipu Sultan's Pure gold-plated throne - looted by the English officials as trophies of war!!

Tipu sultan's gold-plated throne.dailymail.co.uk

Above image: Tipu Sulta's specially made gold plated throne with eight jeweled small tiger heads.  This historic image shows what Tipu's magnificent throne would have looked like before he was killed in the final war in 1799 against the English company at Srirangapatna, India.  On sale in the past auctions were the only surviving pieces of the magnificent throne, a decoratively carved tiger foot with a silver plaque celebrating the victory.

Silver plague honoring Tipu Sultan,.dailymail.co.uk

Above image: Medal of honor: The silver plaque atop the foot of the throne commemorates the victory over one of the greatest Sultans in history.........................

Tipu Sultan (20 November 1750–4 May 1799) of Mysore, as discussed in some my earlier posts, stood in the way when the British East India company wanted to take over certain unconquered southern parts of India to complete the total capture of the Indian subcontinent.  Because Tipu was  not only brave and  innovative but also a highly spirited warrior who was quite conversant with the various aspects of warfare. Naturally, unperturbed by the big army of the English company, he  firmly stood the ground against the hegemony of the English in this part of the land and despised their oppressive rule in the subcontinent.  Not to be intimidated  by their artillery power and military maneuvers,  Tipu fought three wars bravely against them and only in the fourth battle in April-May 1799 at his capital Srirngapatna (now part of Karnataka state close to Mysore city), the English company's army emerged victorious. In conspiracy with some people in the Mysore kingdom, the British finished him and his saga of courage and war exploits came to an end on the 4th of May 1799 at the age of 48. He earned the nick name ''The Tiger of Mysore''. For further reading about him, please refer to: https://navrangindia.blogspot.com/2016/07/amazing-warrior-tipu-sultan-and-some.html

gem-encrusted tiger head from Tipu Sultan's throne India.in.pinterest.com

It is indeed a rare coincidence that just like the way every part of tiger is used for medicine particularly in China, every personal collection of Tipu such as fire arms, weapons, armors, cloths, jewelry boxes, etc., was collected by the British at the public  auction  held  by the Bonhams. The vast array of items with tiger-strips or representation of tiger displayed in the auction baffled the visitors to the auction. The inherent fact is the beneficiaries are  those  decedents (some may carry the title of Lord or Duke) and others of higher officials who served in the early colonial period under the highly corrupt East India Company. When they were hard-pressed for money and in a financial mess the uncared for bundle in the attic containing the spoils of wars  looted by their forefathers  in India  were of great help in getting over  their financial worries. The valuable, custom- made personal items of Tipu .made  some of them rich overnight relegating their financial nightmares to the backdrop. The rich Brits in the last two decades have developed an obsession for Tipu's personal items,  artifacts and jeweled items. 

Among the most valuable, innovative  and  personal items of Tipu Sultan, be they  jeweled sword handles, sheaths,  hand daggers,  hand guns, etc., it is  the gold-plated  throne that is believed to have been made  between 1787–93  is  the most fascinating one. ''The throne was the most spectacular object  which was therefore lost  and is known only through descriptions.''  It was not sent back to London as it was made from pure gold.  Instead it was destroyed and distributed among the company officers. 'The spoils of war were kept by them as war trophies '  

The  custom - made throne is said to have had  a  natural resin core  and is covered with gold sheets. The main features of the throne with  eight jeweled tiger heads (some historians believe it may be 10) are: the collar around the base  has  three bands of gems, that included polished, foiled cabochon rubies at the bottom; .above it, a band of polished cabochon emeralds with overlapping gem stones and small cusped claws extending onto the surface of the emeralds; and above, an another band of foiled, polished cabochon rubies.  The inspiring feature is  the stippled surface is highlighted as a result of its design - it is symmetrically set on either side of the center line with foiled table-cut diamonds, foiled cabochon rubies and foiled cabochon emeralds of varying sizes. The larger rubies are set on the eyes and the tongue, the teeth set with foiled table-cut diamonds and ears projecting above the head is decorated with engraved lines and punch work. The head mounted on a black marble pedestal with four gilt-metal claw and ball feet and a partial appliqué inscription in gilt metal the head 6.9 cm. high and 338 g.; total height with pedestal 17.5 cm.(vide:notesonindianhistory.com).  

Following the fall of Tipu, the fort at Sirangapatna came under the British control. The British soldiers in the hour of excitement and melee  became unruly and began to loot and grab whatever valuable things they could lay their hands on, though some of the most important items were reserved for the British Royal. They searched the palace and the entire fort, looking for gold  jewelry, gems  and treasures.  The famous golden throne, on which Tipu never sat, was broken up so that the elements could be shared among themselves, much to the disapproval  and dismay of  Col. Lord Wellington. whose troop made the siege successful. The throne was broken up so quickly and little is known about the fate of the remaining throne relics, including 5 jeweled tiger heads.

Tipu's gold throne was broken up at the order of the Prize Committee to the regret of the Governor-General. Arthur Wellesley wrote: "It would have given me great pleasure to send the whole throne entire to England, but the indiscreet zeal of the Prize Agents of the army had broken that proud moment of the Sultan's arrogance into fragments before I had been apprised even of the existence of such a trophy" (quoted in Buddle, Rohatgi and Brown, 1999, p. 25). Some years later in 1842, Surgeon-Major Pulteney Mein, an eye-witness, wrote in response to an article in a journal, which had reported the siege, that "this gorgeous throne was barbarously knocked to pieces with a sledge hammer", such was their eagerness (Moienuddin, 2000, p. 49) vide:  https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/17854/lot/370/

Among the three surviving tiger-heads,  large gold tiger head from the front of the throne is now at Windsor Castle along with yet another famous attraction — jeweled bird called Puma (Indian Eagle), a symbol of luck and bravery. Puma bird also called the bird of Paradise, was specially made for Tipu Sultan as wished by him. Back in London it was presented to Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III.  The other jeweled tiger head  acquired by the second Lady Clive in India, is at Powis Castle, a medieval castle/ fortress and grand country mansion near Welsh pool, in Powis, Wales. (vide: www.notesonindianhistory.com).  

Tipu Sultan’s throne, India. notesonindianhistory.com

Above image: Tipu Sultan’s specially designed gold-sheeted throne with gem- crusted tiger-heads and and foot rests in the shape of tiger’s paw. Image revised and corrected by Prince Gholam Mohammed, Son of Tipu Sultan.  The throne, like a howdah upon a tiger- four foot above the ground (eight feet in length and five in width). It is set with tiger stripes and Arabic verses from the Koran. It is on the back of a  standing royal tiger;  this figure also was covered with plates of pure gold; and the eyes and teeth were of rock crystal. The tiger with wide open mouth gives the fearsome  posture of roaring, imparting fear. It is supported by a railing accentuated by a jeweled tiger- head above each support. It is supported by eight legs in the shape of a tiger legs. The access to the throne is a flight of silver-made small steps fastened with silver nails on both sides. The throne had a canopy and the total height of the throne is about 9 feet. Atop the canopy is set a gem - crusted gold bird called Puma meaning the bird of the paradise. was valued at 60,000 pagodas. A convincing picture of Tipu's certain personal collections like the jeweled tiger head, etc., and their history is denied to the researchers and historians  as a result of  wide dispersal of Tipu's treasury soon after the fall of his fort and palace. Hence the new discovery of Tipu's personal items is an important addition to the existing relics of the Tiger of Mysore's reign.
Tipu Sultan’s throne. notesonindianhistory.com

Above image: Tipu Sultan’s Throne — front view. drawn from memory by Cap. Thomas Marriott, aide-de-camp to the Commander-in-Chief of Madras.


The 4th Angelo-Mysore war of 1798-99, a brief note:

.4th Angelo-Mysore war (1798-99).notesonindianhistory.com

4thAngelo-ysore war (1798–99),Srirangapatna.en.wikipedia.org

Death of Tipu Sultan-1799, Srirangapatna fort.in.pinterest.com

Above image: Tipu Sultan's body was found buried beneath of those of his followers in his fort at Srirangapatna............

Col.Bailey's dungeon Tip's fort, India asibengalurucircle.in

In the decisive war, the East India company's army that had 60000 troops  had an edge over Tipu's army that had  just 35000 soldiers and was outnumbered (the army strength was 4:1).  Unlike Tipu Sultan, the English company had the backing of  the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Marathas. The latter  launched an invasion from the north. Consequently, Tipu had to face two enemies  at the same time. Against the odds, he fought bravely, unmindful of the outcome. The British, at last,  won a decisive victory in  the Siege of Seringapatam (1799) when Tipu was shot dead by a soldier. Tipu was already wounded and was  taken in a palanquin by his soldiers. through  one of the recesses of the gate, Tipu, carrying his famous sword, wounded the British soldier when he tried to attack him near the gate. But the soldier shot Tipu with his musket on the left of his chest. The brave warrior fell dead on the soil of his fort.  In the aftermath of the fall of Tipu Sultan, much of the remaining Mysorean territory was annexed by the British, the Nizam and the Marathas. The remaining area, around Mysore and Seringapatam, was restored to the Indian prince belonging to the Wodeyar dynasty,  from whose forefathers Hyder Ali, father of Tipu Sultan  had illegally seized the kingdom  and became the de facto ruler.

Srirangapatna.Tipu Sultan's body found here, en.wikipedia.org.

The 4th of May, 1799 was an inauspicious day, though Tipu did oblation as advised by his Hindu astrologers but the fate had its own way and nothing will change the edit of God. . For the British, it was a big victory and  now it was an open range for them  up to the southern tip of Kanyakumari and there was no stopping of their land-grabbing spree. 
Tipu Sultan, Duke Wellington's first worthy enemy. dailymail.co.uk

The Duke of Wellington's former home, London. dailymail.co.uk

 Above image: The Duke of Wellington's former home Apsley House on Hyde Park Corner where he hosted grand events to commemorate the historic battle. For the Duke, the Tiger of Mysore  Tipu Sultan was his first worthy adversary on his way to Waterloo. Unfortunately against his wish  his troops plundered the city and palace, returning to Britain with the spoils of war. A collection of these items went on on sale at London auction house Bonhams..............

The British East India company was responsible for the establishment of British dominion after their victories at the Battles of Plassey (1757) and Buxar (1764) and later the Anglo-Mysore Wars (1766–1799), the Anglo–Maratha Wars (1775–1818), and finally the Anglo-Sikh Wars (1845–1849) helped the English company consolidate  the British claim over South Asia, resulting in the British Empire in India.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Mysore_Wars). Patriotic Indians had to wait till August 1947 to breathe fresh air of freedom and  to see the departure of the British. 


https://toshkhana.word(vide: www.notesonindianhistory.com)press.com/2015/05/17/chair-of-the-khudadad-sarkar-the-throne-of-tipu-sultan/



https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/17854/lot/370/ )