Object Title

4.5 in howitzer

4.5 in howitzer

Date

1838-1839

Object Number

XIX.109

Provenance

Transferred from the India Office to the Indian Section of the Victoria & Albert Museum, No.3-1894 I.S., in 1894, and from the Museum to the Armouries in 1958.

Physical Description

The piece is quite plain except for a Persian inscription framed in a rectangular panel surmounted by a stylised flowering plant. The inscription, which is partly in verse and partly in prose, reads:


Verse
Casting thunderbolts on the earth, a thunder-sounding earthquake, this is not a gun but a serpent with a talisman of fire. By virtue of its power, brilliance and might Tuba spoke: 'It is clear that it is the evidence of victory.'


Prose
'This volcanic and dragon-tongued gun of the King upon whose threshold is Saturn, whose doorkeeper is Mars, the Maharajah of victorious radiance, of auspicious fortune, whose shadow is the bird of fortune, whose generosity is as a river, Sher Singh Bahadur, may his good fortune and majesty endure, was presented by the famous Sardar of high dignity Nihal Singh Bahadur Ahluvalia, named Tuba.'


The prose inscription ends with the date (of its presentation?), the year 1898 of the Vikram Samvat era which corresponds to A.D. 1841-2. There is no back-sight mounting as No.XIX.108

Dimensions

Dimensions: Length: 33.5 in (85 cm), Overall length: 37.5 in (95.3 cm)

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number nvn

Calibre

4.5 in _ (11.5 cm)

Associations

Places India

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976., No.229, p.165.

Notes

Maharajah Sher Singh, of dubious parentage but acknowledged as son of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, was ruler of the Punjab from January 1841 to September 1843. Nihal Ahluvalia, 1817-52, was Rajah of the State of Kapurthala. The inscription indicates that the verses are by Nihal Singh himself. The poetical name Tuba is the name of one of the trees in Paradise referred to in the Koran, and has been used in a pruning reference to the personal name, Nihal, which means a green tree or branch. The last words of the verse 'evidence of victory' are a chronogram concealing the date 1254 A.H. (A.D. 1838-9), presumably when the gun was cast.