Posts relating to people, gender, artistic representations, and common types in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.
A nice piece on students on replicating Harappan techniques in Wisconsin in 2016 with Mark Kenoyer shows how much we have to learn about the complexity of ancient manufacturing.
One side of a planoconvex molded tablet found in 1995 in Mound ET at Harappa. Mark Kenoyer writes about his narrative scene depicting the killing of a water buffalo: "A person, possibly a man, with hair tied in a bun on the back of the head, impales a water buffalo with a barbed spear. The hunter's foot presses down on the water buffalo's head as he thrusts the spear into its shoulder. In Later Hindu rituals, the water buffalo sacrifice is associated with the worship of the goddess Durga, but on this seal the sacrifice takes place in the presence of a priest or deity seated in yogic position.
Nude male figurine or deity from Mohenjo-daro. Note the wide, spreading beard. He is wearing a broken headdress that may have had two curving horns. For additional information on the representation of masculinity, see also Men of Harappa A and Men of Harappa B. For more male and female figurines, see also Embodying Indus Life: Terra Cotta Figurines.
Ancient Indus males of stature seem to have had their hair tied in close buns, and with headband to further articulate their head. This is true of the priest king, shown here in a possible colored replica, the original, and in profile soon after being found in the 1920's. The figure below, with the same hair hair arrangement and headband, was found at Mohenjo-daro. Mark Kenoyer writes "Finely braided or wavy combed hair is tied into a double bun on the back of the head, and a plain fillet or headband with two hanging ribbons falls down the back.
Molded tablets from Trench 11 at Harappa sometimes have impressions on one, two, three or four sides. This group of molded tablets shows the complete set of motifs. One side is comprised entirely of script and has six characters, the first of which (on the very top) appears to be some sort of animal. A second side shows a human figure grappling with a short horned bull. A small plant with at least six branches is discernible behind the individual. The third panel portrays a figure seated on a charpoy or throne in a yogic position, with arms resting on the knees.
There are two crocodilians found in the Indus river system: One is the mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) also known as 'magar much', and the other is the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus).
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 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.