The illustrious sword once owned by Tipu Sultan, a courageous Muslim ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in South India, has been sold for an astounding $17.4 million at a London auction. Known as the “Tiger of Mysore,” Tipu Sultan gained renown for his military leadership during numerous conflicts.
According to the official website of the auction, a number of weapons were taken from Tipu Sultan’s palace following his defeat at Seringapatam on May 4, 1799. Among them was the Bedchamber Sword, discovered within his private chambers.
During the battle against the East India Company, Tipu Sultan met a heroic end, and the sword was reportedly plundered. It was subsequently presented to Major General David Baird, a British army officer, as a token of appreciation for his bravery and conduct during the assault on Tipu Sultan.
Dubbed “The Sword of the Ruler,” this sword is considered the most exquisite and significant weapon in Tipu Sultan’s collection. Crafted by Mughal swordsmiths who drew inspiration from German blades brought to India in the 16th century, it boasts a beautifully adorned hilt with intricate gold lettering representing five divine attributes and two invocations to God by name.
Nima Sagharchi, the group head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams, highlighted the sword’s remarkable history, provenance, and craftsmanship, which contributed to the intense bidding competition among both phone bidders and those present in the auction room.
Bruno Vinciguerra, CEO of Bonhams, expressed his delight in achieving such an impressive result for this extraordinary piece.
Oliver White, Head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams and the auctioneer, emphasized the sword’s exceptional significance. He stated that it remains the most extraordinary weapon associated with Tipu Sultan that is privately owned. Its close personal connection to Tipu Sultan, impeccable provenance since its capture, and outstanding craftsmanship render it a truly unique and highly coveted artifact.