This 18th-century wooden automaton enacts a European soldier being mauled by a tiger; it has an organ in the back that makes the European soldier’s arms move and he groans. The device was made for the Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the powerful Mysore kingdom in South India from 1782 to 1799. The Tipu Sultan was a great enemy of the British East India Company, who fought three wars against him. When he was finally defeated and his capital overrun, the British found this device as they were plundering his palace. “Tipu’s Tiger” is now on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
The Tipu Sultan was also the first to use iron-cast rockets in battle. These were later copied by the British and used in the First Anglo-Burmese War.