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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world


Tiger's head 1785-93

RCIN 67212

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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This tiger's head was the centrepiece of an octagonal throne made for Tipu. Every part was covered in sheet gold 2 millimetres thick and some parts were set with rubies and diamonds. The tiger was an ancient symbol of kingship in India, but Tipu used it to an unprecedented extent. Tiger heads and stripes appeared on his flags, uniforms, coins and even on bindings on the books in his library. Four tigers on chains guarded the main entrance to his private apartments at Seringapatam. Tipu declared that it was,

better to live a single day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep.


After Tipu’s death in 1799, the golden throne was broken up and distributed to the troops, but the most important elements were brought back to Britain intact. The tiger's head was presented to William IV by the East India Company in 1831.