Posts relating to people, gender, artistic representations, and common types in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.
An exceptional and controversial recent find in a private collection is analyzed by a leading Italian archaeologist in a fully illustrated complete online volume with possible implications for understanding ancient Indus culture. Massimo Vidale writes: "In Autumn 2009, I was invited by a private collector to see an artefact that was mentioned as unique and very complex, and reportedly belonged to the cultural sphere of the Indus civilization.
Jonathan Mark Kenoyer writes of this stunning figurine: "We also see the bun hairstyle on the miniature bronze sculpture of a male spear-thrower or dancer. Traces of eyes and nose are present. The hair is arranged in a bun on the back of the head . . ."
One of the most evocative seals from Mohenjo-daro, depicting a deity with horned headdress and bangles on both arms, standing in a pipal (sacred fig) tree and looking down on a kneeling worshiper. A human head rests on a small stool and giant ram and seven figures in procession complete the narrative. Asko Parpola writes "An anthropomorphic figure has knelt in front of a fig tree, with hands raised in respectful salutation, prayer or worship. This reverence suggests the divinity of its object, another anthropomorphic figure standing inside the fig tree.
Complete fragment of seal with the trident hand, from Richard Meadow: H98-3505/8347-105 Steatite seal, intaglio. White fired steatite with a white core. Red speckling on interior below glaze level, slightly speckled on surface. Grinding marks visible on surface. Fragment of writing and top of animal motif remain - 2 or 3 signs are partially visible and 1 sign is complete (~”N”). The man with a double-bun hair style may be holding a trident or simply raising his hand. The animal motif is probably a tiger because of the multiple strokes.
Bridget Allchin, a pioneering woman archaeologist of South Asia, recently passed away. The Guardian has a fine summary of her remarkable career.
"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.
"'Every village has its own special guardian mother, called Mata or Amba' - some 140 different 'mothers' in all. 'Generally there is also a male deity, who protects like the female from all adverse and demoniacal influences. But the mother is the favorite object of adoration' (Monier-Williams 1885:222). The same held true in India at large, not least in the Dravidian-speaking south India."
Iravatham Mahadevan, India's leading expert on the Indus script, and Padmashri award winner (2009), sadly passed away on Monday in Chennai. He was 89. His contributions towards the understanding of early Indian and Tamil scripts were unparalleled; he was also an extremely generous contributor to Harappa.com, one whose scholarship was widely recognized internationally.
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