Tipu's Tiger - with Sona Datta

Sona Datta is an Art historian and Curator of South Asia at Peabody Essex Museum. Her most recent documentary series for the BBC, 'Treasures of the Indus', tells the story of the Indian sub-continent through the treasures that have shaped the modern Indian world.


Tipu's Tiger is an eighteenth-century automaton created for Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in India. The carved and painted wood casing represents a tiger savaging a near life-size European man. Mechanisms inside the tiger and man's bodies make one hand of the man move, emit a wailing sound from his mouth and grunts from the tiger. In addition a flap on the side of the tiger folds down to reveal the keyboard of a small pipe organ with 18 notes.


View this episode's image here.



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