Tipu's (in)famous "mechanical clock organ" tiger, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Source: http://www.fp.ucalgary.ca/dmpeers/Tipu's%20Tiger.JPG
(downloaded Aug. 2005)

"In 1819 Keats went to the London offices of the East India Company in Leadenhall Street to inquire about becoming a ship's doctor on an Indiaman. While there, he saw on display Tippoo's Tiger, the famous mechanical beast manufactured for the Sultan of Mysore and captured by the British some twenty years previously. Life-sized, it stands menacingly over its latest victim, a prone Redcoat about to receive the coup de grace. It is part comic, part scary; part vast toy -- an internal organ produces tigerish roars and human shrieks, while the victim's arm flails to fend off the beast.... Keats was so impressed that he put it into his satirical poem "The Cap and Bells":
... That little buzzing noise...
        Comes from a plaything of the Emperor's choice,
From a Man-Tiger-Organ,
        prettiest of his toys.
A later and much more unexpected visitor to Leadenhall Street was Gustave Flaubert, in London for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Flaubert explored the great industrial bazaar at the Crystal Palace, but as Frederick Brown, his latest biographer, reports, 'apparently nothing under that stupendous roof delighted him more than Tippoo's Tyger at the East India Company Museum.'"

-- by Julian Barnes, New York Review of Books, May 25, 2006, p. 12.

*A cannon of Tipu's, in which the end of the barrel has the form of a tiger's open jaws*

Source: http://www.fp.ucalgary.ca/dmpeers/Mysore%20cannon%203.JPG
(downloaded Mar. 2007)

Two can play at the symbols game: the British Lion is shown as overcoming Tipu's tiger

Source: http://search.sothebys.com/jsps/live/lot/LotDetail.jsp?lot_id=4FGPZ
(downloaded May 2005)

" SERINGAPATAM MEDAL, 1799: an extremely fine English striking in bronze (as awarded to non-commissioned officers), by C.H. Küchler, depicting the British Lion overcoming Tipu Sultan's Tiger, the reverse with a view of the fortress of Seringapatam, bronze suspension. CATALOGUE NOTE: inscription: asadullah al-ghalib, "The Lion of God is Triumphant"; khodadad seri rang patan ra 28 dhiqa'da (sic.) 1213 ba hijri; "Khodadad (God-given), Seringapatam, 28 dhi'l-qa'da 1213 of the hijra / (3 May, 1799)."

The British also returned the favor by demonizing Tipu: "The troops of Tippoo Saib pillaging Madras" (an engraving from 1861)

Source: ebay, Aug. 2006

== Indian Routes index == Indian Routes sitemap == Glossary == FWP's main page ==