Terracotta toy, Female Bust and Bird 8

It is appropriate that – besides broken seals – among the very first objects that the ancient Indus people represented themselves through four thousand years later were toys. Indeed, it would have been a watershed moment for children in the region as Supriya Varma wrote in her essay Material Culture and Childhood in Harappan South Asia: " . . . the richness and diversity of toys and gaming artefacts from Mohenjodaro and Harappa is striking. This is in sharp contrast to the periods preceding and following the Mature phase of the Harappan Civilization."

In his first weeks at the site on Mound F, Daya Ram Sahni found two more familiar objects, discs and a bird figurine still common in Punjabi villages.

"A. 235 A pair of terracotta discs joined together (diam. I 3/4") pierced with three holes. It is a common toy of Indian children who pass a string in a particular manner through the boles and twirl it till it makes a particular harmonious sound, Panjabi name Ghurghatta.

A. 191 Human head (height 1 3/4"), with two horn-like pro­jections.

A. 317 Terracotta bird (height 2") with stand."

- Daya Ram Sahni, Annual Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey [of India], Hindu and Buddhist Monuments, Northern Circle for the Year Ending 31st March 1921, p. x, 23, 21, 20.

"The small terracotta figurines and whirling toy are very common at Harappa and other major sites. The head on the right may have had curled horns of the markhor goat that is also seen in some seal carvings. For a similar bird figurine and human figurines with animal horns see bird figurine from Harappa and four male figurines with horned headdresses from Harappa."

- Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, 2021.

ASI Description: 

A. 317 Terracotta bird (height 2") with stand.

A. 235 A Pair of terracotta discs joined together (diam. 1 3/4") pierced with three holes. It is a common toy of Indian children who pass a string in a particular manner through the holes and twirl it till it makes a particular harmonious sound. Punjabi name Ghargatta.

A. 191 (a) Human head (height 1 3/4"), with two horn-like projections.

[Appendix D] 2841 A terracotta toy consisting of a pierced disc (A 235), a female bust (A 191) and a bird (A317).

[Original caption] a terracotta toy a female bust and a bird.

Slide Year: 
Delhi ASI Number: 
408/86
Silver Plate: 
2812
(Item) Serial Number: 
A 317
A 235
A 191
Trench: 
A
A
A
Find spot: 
19 x 5
6 x 19
5 x 29
Depth (ft.): 
2
2
4
Depth (in.): 
6
6
9