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ArticleAbstract: The library of Tipu Sultan of Mysore is one of the most important in the history of South Asian Islamic collections. Unlike many collections which can be regarded as dynastic libraries, Tipu’s was relatively newly-formed. Most of the books had not been acquired before the mid-eighteenth century but nevertheless came from diverse sources. This gives the collection an added importance in a specifically eighteenth-century context. Following his death in 1799 at the siege of Seringapatam (Srirangapatna, an island in the river Kaveri ca. 13 km. north of Mysore) the library was estimated to consist of about 2000 volumes. Of these the British Library holds 540 manuscripts which can be positively identified as part of the original library while others are in the Asiatic Society, Calcutta and scattered around the world. This article is based on a preliminary study of the collection as it exists today in the British Library, together with a few other volumes which have been examined personally. On the basis of paratextual information I attempt an analysis of the collection as a whole and in particular look at the smaller collections of which it is made.
ArticleAbstract: This article looks at all the known seals of Tipu Sultan of Mysore (r. 1782-1799) particularly those found in the manuscripts which formed his Library collection, disbanded in 1799 after the fall of Seringapatam and subsequently divided between the East India Company London (now in the British Library), and the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Kolkata. By focussing on the British Library collections certain patterns of usage have come to light, possibly indicating Tipu Sultan’s linguistic and literary preferences. It gives me great pleasure to dedicate this article to Barbara Brend as a mark of appreciation for her patience and help, whose knowledge and advice has been of such benefit to a non-art historian. At the end of this article I highlight an important manuscript from the Royal Asiatic Society’s collection which thanks to her sponsorship has now been digitised and is available on the web as part of the RAS digital collections.