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Saddle cloth

  • Place of origin:

    Deccan (made)

  • Date:

    late 18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Velvet, embroidered with silver gilt thread, wire and sequins

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This elaborately decorated saddle-cloth is believed to have belonged to Tipu Sultan of Mysore, who was killed by British forces at the battle of Seringapatam in 1799. This sort of heavy embroidery in gold-wrapped silk thread (known as 'zardozi') on a velvet ground was popular for palace furnishings and animal-trappings throughout much of India during the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Place of Origin

Deccan (made)


late 18th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Velvet, embroidered with silver gilt thread, wire and sequins


Height: 143.5 cm, Width: 142.2 cm

Object history note

Bought by the South Kensington Museum in 1864 as : "Saddle cloth of crimson Genoa velvet thickly embroidered with gold thread in conventional foliage pattern, &c. Indian, formerly the property of Tippoo Sahib. Received from Stores 15 July 1864. Received from Mrs Williamson. Price £30.00."
According to V&A Registry, 6/2/08, there is no nominal file for Mrs Williamson and there are no further acquisition details.

Descriptive line

Tipu Sultan; Animal trappings, velvet, embroidered, S India

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

p.184, pl.163
Guy, John and Swallow, Deborah (eds.) Arts of India: 1550-1900. Text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990, reprinted 1999. 240 p. : ill. ISBN: 1851770224.
p. 92, cat. 237, Veronica Murphy
The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982 Number: ISBN 0 906969 26 3
p.24, no. 17
Stronge, Susan, Tipu's Tigers, London: V&A Publishing, 2009 ISBN. 9781851775750
Irwin; John, Indian Embroidery (large picture book, no. 7) London: H. M. Stationery Office, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1951

Production Note

Said to have belonged to Tipu Sultan and to have been taken at the Siege of Seringapatam in 1799

Subjects depicted

Floral pattern


Royalty; Entertainment & Leisure; Transport; Arms & Armour; Animals and Wildlife; Equestrian equipment; Textiles


South & South East Asia Collection

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