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拍品詳情

Arts of the Islamic World including Fine Rugs and Carpets

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A fine lacquered and painted matchlock rifle (torador) with bayonet, India, 18th century
long slender barrel with chiselled foliate design with gilt details on breech and muzzle, fitted to front with spring-bayonet, stock decorated throughout with lacquered and painted floral and bird motifs in polychrome and gilt, trigger guard with catch to release bayonet, in a wooden case lined with green baize, with hand-written label "An Indian gun taken at the surrender of Seringapatam 1792"
152cm.


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來源

Possibly: Sotheby’s, 18 December 1979, lot 191, as indicated by two labels with lot and label on box with: "50 - Sotheby's - 089297".

相關資料

The Treaty of Seringapatam

As attested by its inscription, this gun was taken following the treaty and surrender of Seringapatam on 18 March 1792, an act which officially ended the Third Anglo-Mysore War. The war broke out in 1789, when Tipu Sultan, the then ruler of Mysore, had attacked the neighbouring territory of Travancore located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu which was allied to the British East India Company. After several years of protracted conflict, the allied forces of the East India Company, Maratha Empire and the princely state of Hyderabad laid siege to Tipu’s capital, Seringapatam. Rather than storm the city, Lord Cornwallis, leader of the British and Company forces entered into negotiations with Tipu resulting in the treaty mentioned on this gun case.

Guns of the Third Anglo-Mysore War

In keeping with Tipu Sultan’s moniker as the ‘tiger of Mysore’, the majority of guns associated with him tended to display a preoccupation with tiger imagery, namely the bubri or tiger stripe motif (Wigington 1992). That this gun is lacquered with floral and bird motifs is reminiscent of Mughal textiles and the borders of Mughal miniatures which make it highly rare among Indian guns from the period and region (see Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 55.121.10.23).

Such floral imagery forms a leitmotif present throughout South Asian art and architecture which had its roots in Mughal emulation of Safavid courtly tradition as well as European botanical paintings (Dusenbury & Bier 2004, p.18). The formalised Mughal flowering plant motif was one that was largely adopted during the emperor Jahangir’s reign in which Mughal court artists were encouraged to paint flowers in a more naturalistic manner. 

Lacquered Guns

The lengthy, delicate and costly process of lacquering was usually confined to boxes and dishes which were intended as diplomatic gifts. Whilst lacquerware could have been known in India through prior contact with Chinese and Southeast Asian products, there is no documented indication of this until the seventeenth century when the Dutch and Portuguese East Indian Companies brought many pieces of nanban Japanese lacquerware as gifts for the Mughal Court and other potentates (Kaufmann 2019, p.30).Two seventeenth century Mughal miniatures found in the Windsor Padshahnama (fols.117a & 116b) depict Europeans carrying such lacquerware, clearly making an impression on the receiving South Asian elites.

That this gun is lacquered affirms that it was probably an object intended for presentation and indicates a tradition of established Indian lacquering techniques built upon indigenous designs. Due to the length of the lacquering process, which took several months to complete, this item may have belonged to Tipu himself or a member of his court. Of the few extant Indian lacquered matchlock guns, two near contemporary pieces can be found in the Windsor Royal Collection (inv. nos. RCIN 38203 & 37889).

Arts of the Islamic World including Fine Rugs and Carpets

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倫敦