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Country of Origin: India
Museum: Victoria & Albert Museum

“Tipu Sultan was the Indian ruler of Mysore who fought doggedly for decades to preserve his independence against the British. Using the ruse of Napoleon’s attempted correspondence with the sultan, Governor-General Wellesley of the British East India Company (EIC) attacked Mysore to further his colonial expansion plans despite a peace treaty being in place. Tipu died in combat while defending his capital Srirangapatna, and what followed was flagrant looting of his palace by EIC soldiers. The finial is just one of the many Tipu treasures ranging from precious gems and gold encrusted objects, jade and ivory, swords and armour, cannons and rockets, clothing, tent, books and manuscripts that are currently displayed or hidden in UK museums, castles, libraries and private collections. In recent decades many of these objects have resurfaced, and some have been put on auction by descendants of EIC officers and soldiers involved in that siege and looting.” – Hyperallergic

“”Tippoo’s Tiger” was made for Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore in South India from 1782 to 1799. It is one of the V&A’s most famous and intriguing objects. The tiger, an almost life-sized wooden semi-automaton, mauls a European soldier lying on his back.” – Victoria & Albert Museum

“The label for “Tipu’s Tiger” begins with the sentence:

“Tipu Sultan was killed when the East India Company stormed Seringapatam in 1799.”

That’s written in a passive voice. It doesn’t mention the fact that he was killed by the company’s officers, and gives the impression that he just happened to die at the same time.” – The New York Times


28 December 2021: “UK’s cultural institutions such as the British Museum and the V&A have hidden behind legislation and engaged in obfuscation for too long. It is time for the British government to acknowledge the wrongs of its colonial past, and repatriate its ill-gotten culturally significant objects back to their countries of origin. The upcoming 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2022 presents Britain with a timely opportunity to right these wrongs.” – Hyperallergic