Whether or not the masks/amulets and attachable water buffalo horns were used in magic or other rituals, unusual and composite animals and anthropomorphic/animal beings were clearly a part of Indus ideology.
Slides by Richard H. Meadow, Project Director of HARP (Harappa Archaeological Research Project). His excavations focus on the ancient Indus Valley sites in Pakistan including Balakot near Karachi, Mehrgarh in Baluchistan, and Harappa since 1995.
The appropriation of animal attributes can be accomplished through such paraphernalia as masks/amulets and other objects that can be attached to a costume.
Loosely included under the rubric of terracotta "figurines" are the terracotta masks found at some Harappan sites. One mask clearly has a feline face with an open mouth with exposed fangs, a beard, small round ears and upright bovine horns.
One type of wheeled figurine has lateral holes for the axles through the ends of the legs.
Approximate dimensions (W x H(L) x D): 3.6 x 11.0 x 7.5 cm.
A small subset of the figurines from Harappa originally had wheels. Of the many small terracotta wheels found at Harappa, at least some must have been intended for these wheeled objects.
A different style of quadruped body has a vertical neck shaft for attaching and possibly changing the (separate) head. Figurine heads with this type of neck shaft include the markhor heads discussed earlier (see image #40).
Approximate dimensions (W
The movable heads of figurines often depict cattle. They are usually pierced laterally through the neck and vertically or sagittally through the head in order to secure them to the bodies and control them with a cord.
Approximate dimensions (W x
Another figurine that may have been used as a toy is the quadruped, probably a bovine, with a movable head and tail.
Some terracotta figurines such as the unusual ithyphallic pot-bellied animal figurines with tails and holes through the shoulders for movable arms were probably used as toys or puppets. A few examples also have holes in their bases.