India's stolen treasures - looted by the British company from Tipu Sultan of Mysore - 02

The colonial rule in India from the middle of 18th century till  1947 was not only one of  unjust rule and  exploitation of country's natural resources and land-grabbing but  also of looting  India's riches like diamonds, jewelry, artifacts and bronze  idols of deities of archaeological and historical value, etc.  The East India company was more of  a looter of Indian riches than of an administrator. Subsequently,   when the Crown administration ran the Indian  subcontinent   from London, looting and land - grabbing continued  without a break in a subtle manner.  No doubt the  British  empire was   accused of stealing various invaluable  and historical items from their colonies across the Globe   and proudly displayed  them in  London in various museums  to highlight their past imperial power and political dominance. The preponderance of stuff in the British museums  were stolen from India covering more than two centuries of  plundering.   It is  to be noted  and is often mentioned by  historians that  that if the British were to  return the stuff plundered by them to the colonies,  British museums would be  left with empty space and racks. 

The British under the east India company extensively looted  Tipu's  personal  collection  worth crores of rupees after his death in 1799. Within minutes of Tipu's death in the battle field, British soldiers removed the jewels, ornaments, and valuable items from his dead body. In the later days, his palace was looted by  English soldiers under col Wellesley and other military officers. Quite disgusting thing.The unabated  loot and plundering  by British Army in individual capacity went on  unaccounted as a personal collection.

The April 2015 auction   was organized under the title ‘Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art Sale’ and consisted of 30 items all from a single collection. The exquisite collection was sold for a total of more than £6 million.  The top lot in the sale was a rare gem-set sword with tiger's head pommel from Tipu Sultan's royal regalia. Estimated at £60,000-80,000 it was sold for £2,154,500.

India's  was achieved after 200 years of slavery and for two centuries Britain looted India as much as they could.    An economic study tried to estimate how much British took out of India, it ended up at a number of $45 trillion  in today’s value. Not just India, British also stole valuable things from around other countries. The following are just a sample: 

Tipu Sultan's mechanical wooden tiger toy 18th C

Rare personal  items looted by the English company from Tipu Sultan of Mysore: 

 01. Tipu Sultan's sword:

Tipu Sultan's sword.

02.  A silver-mounted flintlock sporting gun 

flintlock sporting

Above image:  A silver-mounted flintlock sporting gun from the personal armory of Tipu Sultan


03.  Tipu Sultan's gem-crusted tiger-head:

/part of Tipu Sultan's throne, Tiger head.
.Tipu Sultan's gem-encrusted tiger head.

Above image:  Way back in 2009    another jewel belonging to Tipu Sultan sold for almost £400,000 in 2009.   A gold-sheet tiger’s head set with rubies, diamonds and emeralds stripped from Tipu’s throne in his palace  after his death  in 1799  at  Seringapatam.   This tiger head had been in a London bank vault unnoticed for over a century. Finally it was rescued from obscurity by the  famous auction house, Bonhams.   The 338-gram piece  which is seven inches high, is one of three surviving pieces of the throne. It will go under the hammer on April 2 with a reserve price between £ 6,00,000 (Rs 4.44 crore) and £ 8,00,000 (Rs 5.94 crore) as part of the Bonhams’s Islamic and Indian Art Sale.

Claire Penhallurick of Bonhams’ Indian and Islamic department said it was an “extraordinary privilege” to be selling the piece. “It’s an important discovery and had been unknown for years. It had been lying in the English collection for over 100 years,” she said


04.  Bronze cannon of Tipu Sultan of Mysore

.Bronze cannon of Tipu Sultan of mysore.

Above image: Tipu Sultan's A rare 3-pounder bronze cannon with field carriage from the gun carriage manufacturing factory at Srirangapatna;  it was sold for £1,426,500 against an estimate of £40,000-60,000.


05. Tipu's magic gold box:

Tipu's magic  gold box.

Looted from tipu' s palace in May 1799  at Srirangapatna -  removed  by General Robert Bell. Later its ownership changed hands.   The magic box  is a puzzle. The purpose of the box is unknown you have to use a combination of  numbers  to open it. The box originally contained two manuscript notes, one with a diagram of the 20 sides of the box, the other stating that the box was taken from the treasury of Tipu Sultan.


06. The  Gold Ring of Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan  of Mysore often called  Tiger of Mysore at last was defeated in the final Angelo - Mysore war in 1799 at Srirangapatna (now in Karnataka). When he was killed in the war Duke Wellington (then major Marques Wellesley) had  Tipu's gold ring removed  from the dead body of Tipu and kept it  as his personal war spoil. It had been a custom for Tipu to wear the heavy gold ring with the Hindu god' s  ''Ram'' name inscribed in raised Devanagari while fighting wars. 

Tipu sultan's gold ring

Besides his special sword  made of wootz  steel, his throne with tigers heads encrusted with  gemstones , etc were taken to England by the EIC's higher-ups  In 2014 Tipu's  gold ring  owned by the relatives of Duke Wellington was auctioned in May 2014 by Christie's, London  for £145,000.  The 41.2g ring was sold to an undisclosed bidder for almost 10 times its estimated price at the auction in central London, according .

Richard Wellesley (Duke of Wellington).en.

Tipu Sultan of Mysore

Above image:    Tipu Sultan of Mysore (1 December 1751 – 4 May 1799), was a courageous warrior. To him the dishonest and highly corrupt  English company was a sworn enemy, hence he had a military alliance with the French army operating in India.  Also known as the Tiger of Mysore,  he was an innovative person  and a pioneer of  Mysorian rockets that could travel long distance ie 1 km  and hit the targets. he used heat resistant metal-pipes in the rockets. A good administrator he introduced  new coinage system  a new land revenue system which initiated the growth of the Mysore silk industry. he was killed in the final war with the English in 1799 at  Srirangapatna.   Arthur Wellesley, later known as the Duke of Wellington, led his army into Seringapatam, the capital of Mysore   After his death at the age of 48  British General Harris to exclaim "now India is ours. The unfortunate fact is Tipu was betrayed by his men in the court.  He was buried the next afternoon at the Gumaz, next to the grave of his father. The items  on auction bore the trademark tiger and tiger stripes associated with the Tiger of Mysore as proof of their provenance.  ..........................

07. Gem-set sword:

Above image:   The highlight of this sale was a rare gem-set sword with tiger’s head pommel from Tipu royal regalia, estimated to be worth £60,000-80,000. It sold for £2,154,500. Bonham's Islamic  and Indian art sale, London , April 2015...............

08. Betel-nut Casket: 

Tipu Sultan's betel nut box.

Above image: An intricately designed Betel Nut Casket (17,500 pounds) belonging to  Major hart; Berkshire-based Antony Cribb Ltd were the  auctioneers, who specialize in arms and armory related sales, had announced the auction in march 2019. The other item included  a Gold East India Company Seal ring (2,800 pounds) belonging to Major Hart. The descendants of major Hart  kept them for  some generations prior to  the present owners. 


09. Tipu's  20 bore Flintlock -gun: 

Tipu Sultan's flintlock gun and

Above image: This personal item of Tipu was   hugely popular as it attracted 14 bids before going under the hammer for 60,000 pounds. It is a 20 bore flintlock gun from the  personal armory of Tipu. He  used many Western craftsmen, and this gun reflects the most up-to-date technologies of the time......