Auction house Bonhams has sold a spectacular collection of arms and armour once owned by Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan for over 6 million pounds (Rs 56.8 crore).
The valuables, auctioned on April 21, included sabres, gemset trophy swords, embroidered arrow quivers, exquisite quilted helmets, blunderbusses, fowling pieces, sporting guns, pistols, and a threepounder bronze cannon -- each and every weapon a work of art in its own right.
Let’s take a look at some of the big-ticket sales:
Item: An historically-important composite Flintlock pistol with left-hand lock, the barrel and mechanism made for Tipu Sultan by craftsman Asad-e Amin at the Royal Workshop -- the stock bearing the Arms of Martin, Bengal -- at Seringapatam, dated AD 1797-98. Inscription on the top of the pistol reads: 'huwa al-bunduq sultan al-ilahi kubriya Allah 'ala al-fath al-Muhammad sara Haydar al-'ad[u] midfa'al-kubriya huwa al-sultan bab fath Muhammad Haydar [sic], (It is the rifle of the divinely-appointed Sultan by the greatness of God, by the victory of Muhammad it was Haydar who conquered the enemy, it is the great gun of the Sultan, Haydar is the door to Muhammad's victory)
Sold For: 72,100 Pounds (Rs 67,52,450)
Item: A silver-mounted Flintlock pistol with left-hand lock, made for Tipu Sultan by craftsman Sayyid Ali at the Royal Workshop in Seringapatam, dated AD 1796-97.
Sold For: 62,500 Pounds (Rs 58,53,372)
Item: A pair of fine silver-mounted Flintlock pistols by craftsman Muhammad-e Almas, probably from the personal armoury of Tipu Sultan in Seringapatam, dated AD 1791-92. Inscription on the barrel reads: 'Tofang-e shahanshah-e dara nazir ke az ghurreshash charkh darad khatir ze mey nashi ra mizedayad chonan ke dar chashm-e khuban nayabi athir (The gun of the Emperor who is like Darius Whose danger even the heavens fear to face, can so skilfully remove the intoxication from wine, that one will not find fire even in the eyes of the fair ones)'
Sold For: 2,54,500 Pounds (Rs 2,38,34,932)
Item: A magnificent two shot superimposed-load silver-mounted Flintlock Sporting Gun from the personal armoury of Tipu Sultan, by craftsman Asad Khan-e Muhammad at Seringapatam, dated AD 1793-94. Inscription on the barrel reads: 'Tofang-e binazir-e khusraw-e hind ke bashad barq-e suzan thani-ye u tavanad sar-nevesht-e khasm bar-dasht hadaf gardad agar pishani-ye u, (The peerless rifle of the Khusraw of India to which the forked lightning is second can seal the enemy's fate if his forehead is made the target.)
Sold For: 7,22,500 Pounds (Rs 6,76,64,985)
Item: A gold damascened steel hilt inscribed with the name of Haydar Ali, late 18th Century. It is of typical talwar hilt design, a disc-shaped flange surrounding the pommel, the grip widening at the middle, a slender crossguard with thin knuckle-guard, inlaid all over with bubri patterns and inscriptions consisting of Qur'anic verses, prayers, and a couplet in Persian.
Sold For: 50,000 Pounds (Rs 46,82,697)
Item: An important rare gem-set sword with Tiger's head pommel from the Royal Regalia of Tipu Sultan, Seringapatam.
Sold For: 21,54,500 Pounds (Rs 20,17,77,453)
Item: A silver-mounted Flintlock musketoon (Bukmar) from the personal armoury of Tipu Sultan, by craftsman Sayyid Ali at the royal workshop in Seringapatam, Mysore, dated AD 1794-95. The inscription on the barrel reads: 'Tofang-e binazir-e khusraw-e hind ke bashad barq-e suzan thani-ye u Tavanad sar-nevesht-e khasm bar-dasht Hadaf gardad agar pishani-ye u,'The peerless rifle of the Khusraw of India to which the forked lightning is second can seal the enemy's fate if his forehead is made the target'
Sold For: 62,500 Pounds (Rs 58,53,372)
Item: A pair of silver-mounted Flintlock pistols with left and right-hand locks, made for Tipu Sultan by craftsman Asad-e Amin at the royal workshop at Seringapatam, Mysore, dated AD 1794-95
Sold For: 134,500 Pounds (Rs 1,25,96,457)
Item: 3-pounder bronze Cannon with field carriage from the Gun Carriage Manufactory at Seringapatam, Mysore, late 18th Century
Sold For: 1,426,500 Pounds (Rs 13,35,97,371)