Terracotta Bird Figurines SP 3391

"Animal figures, mostly in terracotta, have been found in very large numbers at Harappa. They are also fairly common in faience, specially the squirrels and rams, both of which were used as amulets. More rarely, they were made of steatite, shell and bone. Only three examples of steatite have been found, and one of each of the other materials. Harappa offers a greater variety of animal figures than those yet published from Mohenjo-daro....

"Among birds are the duck, peacock, hen, kite, pigeon, sparrow, dove which is almost invariably made in the form of a toy whistle (ghughu lit. a toy dove)—parrot, owl, and grasshopper.

Birds such as the goose, duck, etc., which were made with some care, were frequently holed on the underside for the separate insertion of the feet...In the finer examples of birds in terracotta, faience, or stone the wings are shown in relief, and feathers are indicated by incised lines on the surface...Birds were also coloured white, yellow, green, or red to simulate their natural hues...."

- Madho Sarup Vats, 1940. Excavations at Harappa: Being an account of archaeological excavations at Harappa carried out between the years 1920-21 and 1933-34. Volume I - Text; Volume II - 139 Plates., pg 301.

This group of figurines include a bird whistle on the left, a bird figurine with a hole for inserting an axle and two wheels (at the top center) and on the right is the body of a bird figurine but the head is missing. The object in the center is unclear and no other views of this object were later published in the final report.

- Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, 2023.

ASI Description: 

[Original caption] Harappa Terracotta Figurines

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