Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Tipu Sultan bed chamber sword w/ parasol
I wanted to present a bit different conundrum involving the parasol mark which was present on the large bed chamber sword - May 4,1799 as captured by British forces.
The sword was large, unusually so with a 36" blade and tulwar hilt. In this mount a straight blade is typically regarded as termed 'sukhela'.
On the blade was the gold inlaid parasol mark (as pictured) but unusual in the character of the parasol itself, as well as appearing atop the cross & orb so well known on German blades of earlier times. It would be tempting to suggest that the parasol was added to the cross and orb as a convenient adjustment.
However, the vertical line of the cross, extending from the horizontal line that bisects the orb.....is far too long to the parasol and there is no evidence of the original patibulum (cross bar) in the area it should have been.
It would appear that this mark was applied along with other inscriptions etc. at the time this blade was mounted, and suggests the blade is likely Indian.
But why would the parasol be made to include the cross and orb, which obviously was contrary to Mughal symbolism?
There are two cannon of Tipu Sultan's which carry the familiar East India Company symbol heart shaped with a '4' atop but have been described as 'defaced' with the Mysore seal superimposed over the EIC mark.
It would seem that the strangely paired markings were deliberately placed as if to proclaim the vanquishing of the British by Tipu.
Looking again at the strangely configured parasol OVER the cross and orb , could this have been another case of vanquishing power over perhaps the German allies of the British or the profound use of their blades......by placing the parasol OVER the religiously charged cross & orb?
This application much in the sense or convention of the 'defaced' over marking on the cannon?
I would think the French advisors who oversaw the foundries of Tipu would have been delighted to produce cannon with the kind of allegory that Tipu seemed to favor toward his enemies. The famed mechanical toy that has a tiger attacking a European/British victim is case in point.
Perhaps an industrious armourer to Tipu applied this parasol in this manner.
Added: Tipu's tiger, the automaton device which shows a tiger (presumably representing Tipu. the 'tiger of Mysore' attacking a European (British) soldier. The scene allegorically displays Tipu's loathing of EIC forces.