Title Manuscript Translated Copy of the Seal of an Indian King, with writing in reverse
Book Condition Very Good
Seller ID 005503
A folded card, with a velvet fabric as backing, and fine calligraphic penwork writing on the front -- the writing is so neat that one's first impression is bound to be that the piece is printed! Measuring, when open or unfolded, 18.5 by 11 cm., with folding crease running the center horizontally. The Indian king whose seal is the inspiration was Tippoo Saib (or Tippoo Sultan, Tipu Sultan, etc.), king of Mysore and just about the last ruler on the Indian subcontinent entirely independent of the British. Pioneering the use of rocket artillery, he was initially successful in the Anglo-Mysore wars against the East India Company. However, in 1799 his capital was sacked and he himself was killed. Later, a Captain Peter Rainier, a Royal Navy Captain, copied the king's official seal sometime in the 1810s or 20s. Rainier then gave his copy to another Naval officer, John Kingdom. Kingdom created this curiosity, doing the mirror writing. For his translation into English, he relied on Oxford Hebrew Professor Regius Nicoll. Below the rendering of the seal are three paragramps that tell the story of the seal. Inked below Kingdom's work is a presentation inscription dated 1850 from Kingdom to a surgeon, Charles Fowler. We see this piece as an intriguing curiosity, and surely its creator was also intrigued, and wished to play with the mystery surrounding the seal.