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

Harappan Female Figurine

"The importance of females as symbols of religious power [in Indus Civilization] is supported by the fact that figurines of women or mother goddesses are more common than male figurines." (J.M. Kenoyer). Shown is a female figurine from Harappa with four flowers arranged on the front part of a fan shaped headdress with cups at two sides and braided edging. This figurine is adorned with a triple strand choker with pendant beads and a double strand necklace with central disc pendant.

See also Women of Harappa.

Mohenjo-daro Male Sculpture (Shell in Eye)

Seated male sculpture from Mohenjo-daro with shell inlay still remaining in one eye. The braided or combed hair lays back straight and a plain fillet or ribbon encircles the head and falls down the back of the neck. Two strands of a ribbon or braided hair hang over the shoulder. The stylized ear is a simple cup shape with a hole in the center. The upper lip is shaved and a short combed beard covers the lower jaw. The forward projecting head and large lips may reflect a specific personality or may be due to the particular style of carving.

See also Men of Harappa and Ancient Indus Men's

4 Unicorns

Richard H. Meadow at Harvard wrote in response to a question about whether the so-called unicorn seal depicts a mythical animal or a composite: "Some believe the one, some the other. There is no evidence for any unicorn - one horned beast - from the faunal record. A third belief is that it was a wild ox with the horns shown in profile. That is possible, although if so it is idealized and perhaps a conventional depiction.

Reconstruction of Faience Tablet Manufacturing

Fully and partially glazed faience tablets and other fired objects could be examined after the fire had cooled and the canister opened during experimental firings at the University of Madison, Wisconsin. The steatite molds were also included in the canister to see how they would be affected by this type of firing.

For more on this experiment, see Reconstruction of Tablet Manufacture and Manufacturing Faience Tablets.

Terra Cotta Tokens

Terra cotta tokens or tablets from Harappa. In Area G, south of the gateway on Mound ET, excavators found a concentration of as many as 31 identical cylindrical terracotta tablets (top center), but it is not known what they could have been used for. Concentrations of tablets recovered through recent excavations at Harappa indicate that these tablets become popular during the late part of Period 3B (2450 B.C.E.) and continue on into the final phase of the Harappan occupation, Period 3C (2200 to 1900 B.C.E.).

Storage Jar with Script

Many large storage jars of the (Period 3) Harappa Phase (2600-1900 BCE) have writing inscribed along the upper portion of the vessel. This inscription includes a figure of a man with the bow and arrow sign in each hand. It is impossible to shoot two bows and arrows at the same time so this is clearly not a pictograph, but rather a combined symbol used as part of a Indus writing system.

See also The Evolution of Indus Script.


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