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

Harappan Burial Pottery

Painted and unpainted burial pottery from Harappa. The two largest vessels were found in the same burial and are described below. The other smaller vessels were found in an earlier burial and represent an older style of pottery. The bottom images shows a collection of burial pottery which come from one of the later burials towards the end of the Harappan period, possibly dating to 1900 BCE. Tall jar with concave neck and flaring rim: The rounded base was originally supported in a ring stand. The black painted geometric designs are arranged in panels with a red slip as background.

Miniature Mask from Mohenjo-daro

Miniature mask from Mohenjo-daro of bearded horned deity. The face is made from a mold and thumb impressions from pressing the clay are visible on the back. The mouth is somber and the long almond shaped eyes are open. The short horns arch from the top of the forehead and two long ears lay against the horns. Two holes on either side allow the mask to be attached to a puppet or worn as an amulet. 5.3 x 3.5 cm. See also Ritual Mask.

Glimpses of Dholavira #1

Photograph by Sunil Shanbag
Dholavira is located on Khadir Beyt, an island in the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat State, India. It was excavated between 1990 and 2005 by R.S. Bisht (the field research reports still await publication). In the same size range as Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, it has some of the best preserved stone architecture from the ancient Indus period. The city flourished between 2650 and 2100 BCE and seems to have been abandoned about 1900 BCE. It is thought to have controlled the movement of goods between the resource areas of Gujarat and core areas of the Indus plains.

Steatite Wig

Black steatite wig from late Period 3C deposits in Trench 43 found at Harappa. This small stone hairpiece, here displayed on a modern clay mannequin, may have been set on an alabaster head like similar pieces found in western Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Southern Central Asia.

Harappan Sadhus and Fakirs?

It is not unlikely that ascetics, both men and women who had renounced their possessions and lived off of the land or the generosity of donors, wandered about between the Indus towns and villages. In later periods there are textual references to similar ascetics associated with various religious traditions. In Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Islamic/Sufi traditions, men and women, often in the later stages of life, renounced their possessions to focus on spiritual thought and service.