London: A spectacular collection of arms and armour once owned by Tipu Sultan, the erstwhile King of Mysore, will go under the hammer here next month.
The items will be sold by Bonhams as part of the Islamic and Indian art auction at Bonhams New Bond Street on April 21, the auction house said in a statement.
All the items come from a single collection, which has been exhibited and published.
The collection features sabres, gem-set trophy swords, embroidered arrow quivers, exquisite quilted helmets, blunderbusses, fowling pieces, sporting guns, pistols, and a three-pounder bronze cannon, with each and every weapon a work of art in its own right.
Tipu's personal motif was the tiger, and he adorned both objects of art and instruments of war with images of the animal and with the tiger-stripe design, earning him the nickname the 'Tiger of Mysore'.
The incorporation of the bubri or the tiger stripe is what makes Tipu's firearms unique, according to Robin Wigington, who undertook extensive research on the king for 30 years.
"Although the tiger stripe as an art form was widely used throughout the Islamic world, and notably in India from early times, Tipu's particular pattern of stripe was very much his own," he had noted.
Tipu, who famously declared "I would rather live one day as a tiger than a lifetime as a sheep" was the East India Company's most tenacious enemy, fighting them until his death in 1799.
His campaigns against the colonisers were often based on the latest technology in weaponry, and it is believed that he introduced the military rocket for attacks on enemy infantry, a tactic which won him numerous victories over the seemingly invincible British armies.