Blog posts about the art of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.

Molded Tablets from Trench 11

Molded tablets from Trench 11 at Harappa sometimes have impressions on one, two, three or four sides. This group of molded tablets shows the complete set of motifs. One side is comprised entirely of script and has six characters, the first of which (on the very top) appears to be some sort of animal. A second side shows a human figure grappling with a short horned bull. A small plant with at least six branches is discernible behind the individual. The third panel portrays a figure seated on a charpoy or throne in a yogic position, with arms resting on the knees.

Ritual Mask or Amulet

Loosely included under the rubric of terracotta "figurines" are the terracotta masks found at some Harappan sites. This mask clearly has a feline face with an open mouth with exposed fangs, a beard, small round ears and upright bovine horns. It is small and has two holes on each side of the face that would have allowed it to be attached to a puppet or worn, possibly as an amulet or as a symbolic mask. The combination of different animal features creates the effect of a fierce composite animal.

Manufacturing Faience Tablets

First it is necessary to make the faience paste and the steatite molds. Then the paste is formed into a rectangle and impressed on both sides by the molds. Finally the molded tablets must be dried slowly with air flowing on all sides to allow efflorescence of the glazing flux that is mixed with the faience paste.

See also Reconstruction of Faience Tablet Manufacturing or see more images in Harappa 2000- 2001 slideshow.

Miniature Mask from Mohenjo-daro

Miniature mask from Mohenjo-daro of bearded horned deity. The face is made from a mold and thumb impressions from pressing the clay are visible on the back. The mouth is somber and the long almond shaped eyes are open. The short horns arch from the top of the forehead and two long ears lay against the horns. Two holes on either side allow the mask to be attached to a puppet or worn as an amulet. 5.3 x 3.5 cm.

See also Ritual Mask.

Gender and the Indus People: An Unusual Male Figurine

An unusual male figurine found at Harappa with a fan shaped headdress and choker around the neck may be a representation of alternative gender in the ancient Indus civilization. These are usually characteristic of female figurines.

For more on Masculinity, see also Men of Harappa A, Men of Harappa B and Nude Male Figurine.

For more on Femininity, see Women of Harappa A and Women of Harappa B.


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