Posts relating to people, gender, artistic representations, and common types in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.

Burials at Harappa

The body may have been wrapped in a shroud, and was then placed inside a wooden coffin, which was entombed in a rectangular pit surrounded with burial offerings in pottery vessels. The man was buried wearing a long necklace of 340 graduated steatite beads and three separate pendant beads made of natural stone and three gold beads. A single copper bead was also found at his waist. Note that the entire book describing these discoveries, Harappa Excavations 1986-1990: A Multidisciplinary Approach edited by Richard H. Meadow is available with each chapter a single PDF download.

Indus River Fishing and Fishmongers: A Look Back

These postcards from the early 1900s and albumen photographs from the 1860s give us a glimpse into some of the fishing technologies and practices that were in use at the time. Combining information from multiple sources, including archival images and narratives, enables us to draw conclusions about what the material culture and social practices of the people of the Indus Valley might have been like. 1. The first postcard is from the early 1900s, probably around 1905 in Sindh Province.

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.

Men of Harappa A

Most male figurines from Harappa sit with knees bent and arms at the sides of the legs or around the knees. Some of these figurines have facial features and even genitalia, and a few have stylized legs joined into a single projection.
Although there are fewer male than female figurines to be found at Indus sites, these terracotta males from Harappa give some sense of the principles underlying their representations. Shari Clark writes: "After many decades of research, the Indus Civilization is still something of an enigma -- an ancient civilization with a writing system that still awaits convincing decipherment, monumental architecture whose function still eludes us, no monumental art, a puzzling decline, and little evidence of the identity of its direct descendants.

Women of Harappa A

Photographs by Richard H. Meadow
Image A:Two female figurines nursing infants found at Harappa. The female figurine usually holds the infant's head to her breast with one or both arms encircling the infant. LEFT: The female figurine usually holds the infant's head to her breast with one or both arms encircling the infant. The infants being nursed by female figurines are usually very schematically represented by a bent and pinched roll of clay with or without applied eyes. RIGHT: The head, body, and legs of the infant are usually pressed against the female’s breast and torso with the legs dangling or gripping the female’s