Tipu Sultan throne finial to be auctioned
London: A gem-encrusted gold finial from the decorated throne of Tipu Sultan and an eyewitness account of the battle that led to his defeat at the hands of the British are being put up for auction here on October seven.
The gem-encrusted figure, shaped like a tiger has emerged after more than 200 years in the home of a Scots family, auctioneer Bonhams said.
The previous throne finial sold at Bonhams went for 389,600 pounds.
The British - through the East India Company – defeated the ruler and his throne was broken up in 1799.
The British Governor-General, Lord Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, disapproved of breaking it up, but it was done so the spoils could be shared around.
Also being sold in the same auction as the finial is an eyewitness account by Benjamin Sydenham of the battle which led to the final destruction of Tipu Sultan and his forces, the `Daily Mail` reported today.
He also described seeing the body of the Muslim leader of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India.
The account is set to sell for 15,000 pounds.
He described the body as "wounded a little above the right ear, and the ball lodged in the left cheek, he had also three wounds in the body, he was in stature about 5ft 8in and not very fair, he was rather corpulent, had a short neck and high shoulders, but his wrists and ankles were small and delicate.
"He had large full eyes, with small arched eyebrows and very small whiskers. His appearance denoted him to be above the Common Stamp. And his countenance expressed a mixture of haughtiness and resolution.
"He was dressed in a fine white linen jacket, chintz drawers, and a crimson cloth round his waist with a red silk belt and pouch across his body.
He had lastly his turband and there were no weapons of defence about him".
Claire Penhallurick of Bonhams Indian and Islamic Department, said, "It is an extraordinary privilege to be selling a second such wonderful finial from Tipu Sultan`s throne. To sell one is amazing, but to have two in less than two years is almost unbelievable.
These items are without doubt of the greatest historical significance as they belong to the most important symbolic object in Tipu Sultan`s kingdom, his throne, which he refused
to mount until he had defeated the British".
He added, "It holds huge fascination for both India and Britain as it is part of our shared history, and - as Tipu Sultan was such an extraordinary man and certainly one of the most creative, innovative and capable rulers of the pre-colonial period - it is an important discovery for this field".