A sword with a hilt very similar in form though fashioned of heavily gilt copper is at Powis Castle (Mildred Archer, Christopher Rowell and Robert Skelton, Treasures from India. The Clive Collection at Powis Castle, London, 1987, no.33, pp.46-47). That example has an inscription on the blade which gives the name of Tipu Sultan. The ‘bubri’ or tiger-stripe motif, that we see here decorating our hilt, was adopted by Tipu as his personal emblem. It is found on the Powis sword, and a small number of other examples closely associated with the ruler.
It is likely that this sword was taken as booty after Tipu Sultan was killed during the storming of the fortress of Seringapatam by the British in May 1799. A very similar sword recently sold at Sotheby’s, Arts of Imperial India, 9 October 2013, lot 249.