Tipu Sultan’s Bedchamber Sword Sold for ₹140 Crore at London Auction: Report
Tipu Sultan’s fabled bedchamber sword sold for $17.4 million at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale in London. (Image: Bonhams)
The auction house, Bonhams, highlighted the sword’s significance due to its personal association with Tipu Sultan, and said that it was a prized item in their collection.
A sword belonging to Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of Mysuru, was sold for $17.4 million at an auction in London, auction house Bonhams said in a press release.
Bonhams also facilitated the sale and earlier this week said that the price was seven times the estimate. It further added that the sword was one of the most important items in its collection due to its proven personal association with the former ruler of Mysuru.
Tipu Sultan fought many battles against the local rulers, Marathas and the Britishers. His loss in the Anglo-Mysore war led to Britishers gaining control over swathes of southwestern India.
He was known as the Tiger of Mysore because of the ferocity with which he defended his kingdom. He is also considered a fine swordsman, a fine maker of artillery rockets and also a gun enthusiast and was known to sleep in a hammock with a sword and two pistols on his side, to remain alert against attackers.
The Bedchamber Sword of Tipu Sultan, according to the description shared by the Bonham auction house, is a fine gold-koftgari-hilted steel sword which was manufactured by Mughal swordsmiths following the model of German blades introduced to India in the 16th century.
The sword, adorned with meticulously crafted gold calligraphy, features symbols representing five divine qualities and two invocations to God. It was given to Major General David Baird in recognition of his bravery and leadership during the assault on Seringapatam, where Tipu Sultan was killed, Bonhams said in their release.
The words ‘the Sword of the Ruler’ is inscribed on the blade.
“The sword has an extraordinary history, an astonishing provenance and unrivalled craftsmanship. It was no surprise it was so hotly contested between two phone bidders and a bidder in the room. We are delighted with the result,” the group head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams said.
“This is one of the most astonishing objects Bonhams has had the privilege of bringing to auction. It is a stupendous price for a stupendous piece. I am so thrilled for our teams that worked so hard to deliver this result,” Bruno Vinciguerra, CEO, Bonhams, said.