Open Arts Object: Tipu’s Tiger, 18th century, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
This film presents a unique object: a hybrid work created by French and Indian craftsmen in India, that combines the latest European mechanical knowledge with Indian folk art skills. Dr Dohmen explores the technical marvel of Tipu’s Tiger, a cutting edge late eighteenth-century musical automaton, made of carved and painted Indian jack wood, which makes grunting and wailing sounds. It reached England as a war trophy after the defeat and death of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, in 1799, who commissioned it. Its inner mechanism was most likely created by French craftsmen at Tipu’s court. It is now on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.