Visits to ancient Indus objects in museums on three continents.
On a recent visit to Delhi, I found myself free for two hours and made my way in a rickshaw from Jama Masjid to the National Museum. It was a Sunday afternoon. After paying the entrance fee and breathlessly arriving at the Harappan Civilisation doorway, I found that it was closed for renovations! Momentarily dispirited, it turned out that there was another entrance and much of the gallery was still open – disaster averted.
Of all the objects in the National Museum of Pakistan's Indus Gallery in Karachi, none quite so grabs your attention with its innate character as this tiny faience monkey from Mohenjo-daro.
A visit to the National Museum of Pakistan in Karachi gave me the opportunity to take close shots of four seals from Mohenjo-daro. They show both the exquisite workmanship of Indus craftsmen and the merciless wear, in different degrees, of four thousand years of history.
On a visit earlier in 2019 to the National Museum of Pakistan in Karachi, an iPhone camera was a welcome companion in trying to bring out something of the character of Indus figurines resident within the large glass vitrines.
In the summer of 2019, one of the warmest ever in Paris, I managed to slip one afternoon into the Musee Guimet, and click away on my iPhone at objects usually not seen in colour. This French national museum which contains one of the best collections of Asian Art in the world (as one collector of Indian art, Gursharan Sidhu once put it, the French taste in objects from India is second to none).
"The abundance of animal figurines at the major [Indus] urban centers suggests that they were commonly used in household and public rituals," writes Mark Kenoyer (Ancient Cities, p. 118). "All major domestic and wild animals are represented by terracotta figurines, but only a few animals were made in stone or faience. Two fragmentary stone sculptures of a seated ram were recovered from excavations at Mohenjo-daro," he continues; one was a faience amulet with a hole drilled through it, and there was also a larger sandstone of a seated ram [Image 3]. Ernest Mackay too noted how "model animals
A brand new slide show has just been opened featuring objects from Mundigak, a little-known Bronze Age [c. 4000-2400 BCE] set of mounds in southern Afghanistan. The objects are now at the Guimet, the French National Museum of Asian Art in Paris. Their similarity to objects and motifs in the ancient Indus Valley is remarkable. Examples include the pipal leaf, a rat trap, the humped bull, a bird whistle and classic goblets the Mundigak excavators called "brandy balloons." There is even a stone sculpture which resembles the "priest-king." This 33 slide section Mundigak @ the Guimet is accompanied
Recent news includes the opening of a Rediscovering Harappa: through the five elements (water, earth, fire, air, ether) Exhibition at the Lahore Museum on November 21st, and the apparent discovery of Indus artifacts from 2600 BCE in Sikander South near Dera Ismail Khan.
On a recent trip to New York, I was able to get away for an afternoon to explore the ancient Indus collection at that battleship of a museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I found the Indus collection split between two rooms, 234 in the Asian Art and 403 in the Ancient Near Eastern Art sections, with a nice long walk in between.