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  3.37 Amulet Found on the Body of Tipu Sultan  


©The Trustees of the National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh
(National War Museum of Scotland)
Amulet, covered in brocaded silk, found on the body of Tipu Sultan in 1799

Brittle metal, brocaded silk cover 32.5 x 4.5 x 1 cm

Unknown Indian Artist

hen Tipu's body was eventually found under a heap of the slain, its identity was confirmed by Tipu's subjects. An 'Extract of a Letter from Camp at Seringapatam,' published in the Bombay Courier of 24th August, 1799, describes the scene in some detail:

'About dusk, General Baird, in consequence of information he had received at the Palace, came with lights to the gate, accompanied by the late Killadar of the fort and others, to search for the body of the Sultaun, and after much labour it was found and brought from under a heap of slain to the inside of the gate. The countenance was no ways distorted, but had an expression of stern composure; his turban, jacket and sword-belt were gone, but the body was recognised by some of his people, who were there, to be Padshaw, and an officer who was present, with leave of General Baird, took from his right arm the Talisman, which contained, sewed up in pieces of fine flowered silk, an amulet of a brittle metallic substance of the colour of silver, and some manuscripts in Magic Arabic and Persian characters, the purport of which, had there been any doubt, would have sufficiently ascertained the identity of the Sultaun's body. It was placed on his own palanquin, and by General Baird's orders conveyed to the court of the Palace, where it remained during the night, furnishing a remarkable instance to those, who are given to reflection, of the uncertainty of human affairs………Thus ended the life and the power of Tippoo Sultaun. It will require an able pen to delineate the character apparently so inconsistent, but he who attempts it must not decide hastily.'

The officer to whom General Baird had given permission to untie Tipu's amulet was one Captain Young, and on 9th November 1799, he forwarded the amulet to Sir Alured Clarke in Calcutta. In acknowledging its receipt, Clarke wrote: 'I was favoured with your letter of the 9th ultimo by General Baird…. I was pleased by yr kindness and attention in sending me the curious present it contained. Any thing that belonged to that most extraordinary Being Tippoo Sultaun is worth preservation and the circumstances attending the Taweez, which with Genl Baird's permission you untied from where I presume it had been long attached and cherished as connected with a better fate than ……. has fallen to his lot.'.


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