"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.
Posts relating to people, gender, artistic representations, and common types in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.
"'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
"In January 1927, Mackay began working in L-Area, ca. 28 meters south of the Stupa on the Mound of the Great Bath. He uncovered the so-called 'Assembly Hall' and other architectural remains that are not well understood, even today. He also found three pieces of limestone sculpture: a seated torso (L-950), a reasonably well-preserved bust (L-898) and a very poor, abraded head, possibly of a woman (L-127)."
Shereen Ratnagar, in her brand new book The Magic in the Image Women in Clay at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa (soon to be reviewed here) offers an interesting conjecture around a set of male figurines found at the two iconic Indus sites.
Male figurines are sometimes also identified by secondary sex characteristics such as beards. Occasionally, male figurines wear a headdress with two upward and/or outward projections like horns. Similar figures with horned headdresses are found in the iconography of seals, tablets, and pottery. It is possible that these represent composite figures with anthropomorphic and animal attributes or the appropriation of animal attributes in the form of a headdress. In addition to different postures, male figurines also exhibit a variety of hairstyles.
"I saw a herd of unicorns today. I write this in full possession of my senses." So begins the short story The Unicorn Expedition by the great Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray. A Professor Shanku story from the early 1960s, one of a series which reflect "my love of [Jules] Verne and [H.G.] Wells and [Sir Arthur] Conan Doyle whose works I read as a schoolboy," wrote Ray. Like anything by him, it is charming and effortless and rich and rich and starts in Mohenjo-daro.
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.
Figurine with flower headdress from Harappa and a reconstructed headdress in gold found with a serving girl found with Queen Puabi at the royal burials at Ur in Mesopotamia ca. 2600 BCE. Note the carnelian beads around her neck whose only source at the time was the ancient Indus civilization. More at the video lecture Meluhha: the Indus Civilization and Its Contacts with Mesopotamia by Dr. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer.