PresenterEhrlich Joshua - University of Macau, History, Macau, Macau
Panel12 – South Asian Collections in European Museums: Examining their acquisition, display, and futures
This paper contributes to present-day debates surrounding South Asian collections in European museums through an exploration of the history of one of South Asia’s greatest libraries: that of Tipu Sultan of Mysore (1751-99). Tipu’s collection was amassed largely through the plunder of rivals, yet it in turn was plundered by the British East India Company. Debates over what should be done with it began almost immediately in 1799, raged for some years, and lately have arisen again. The case of Tipu’s library highlights the difficulties involved in assigning “ownership” of collections to particular people, polities, or places. Digital technologies, however, hold out the promise of new solutions to the problem.