Regionalization Era: Art and Symbol (cont.)
The manufacture of seals shows a dramatic change during the later part of the Early Harappan or Kot Diji Phase. The early button seals made of carved bone from the Ravi phase (Meadow, Kenoyer and Wright 1998) are replaced with carved soapstone or steatite seals having geometric incised designs (Meadow, Kenoyer and Wright 1996; Meadow, Kenoyer and Wright 1998). Some of these seals are bleached white and glazed to create a hard surface suitable for repeated stamping (Figure 3). The discovery of a terracotta sealing of a square seal with script and a geometric or plant motif indicates that they were in fact used for such purposes. An unfinished seal with an elephant motif also provides the earliest evidence for the local manufacture and use of large symbolic animals on the steatite seals (Kenoyer and Meadow 2001 in press).
Figure 3: Harappa: Ravi and Kot Diji Phase Seals
1. Button Seal, bone, Ravi Phase, H98-3503/8514-07.
2. Button Seal, glazed steatite, Kot Diji Phase, H96-2740/7469-01.
3. Button Seal, glazed steatite, Kot Diji Phase, H96/7458-01.
4. Button Seal, glazed steatite, Kot Diji Phase, H98-3453/8301-01.
5. Button Seal, glazed steatite, Kot Diji Phase, H98-3493/8314-01.
6. Button Seal, unfired steatite, Kot Diji Phase, H96-2743/7402-90.
7. Button Seal, glazed steatite, Kot Diji Phase, H2000-4495/9597-01.
8. Elephant Seal, glazed steatite, Kot Diji Phase, H2000-4474/8994-01.
9. Terracotta sealing, Kot Diji Phase, H98-3485/8437-01.
10. Limestone cubical weight, Kot Diji Phase, H98-3430/8499-16.
In conjunction with the use of seals there is also evidence for the manufacture and use of cubical limestone weights, that would have been used for weighing valuable commodities or for taxation (Meadow, Kenoyer and Wright 1999). There is no concrete evidence for copper or gold working at Harappa, but the diversity of copper tools, utensils and ornaments and the presence of various types of gold beads and pendants from the Early levels suggests that such crafts were also being practiced at the site.
There is also evidence for various types of bangle manufacture using exotic materials such as marine shell and local materials such as terracotta (Figure 4). Both wide and narrow bangles were made from the marine shell Turbinella pyrum using simple techniques of incising with stone tools, grinding, and polishing. Shell bangles are relatively rare during the Ravi Phase, but gradually become more common during the Kot Diji and later Harappan Phase. Terracotta bangles were hand formed and the exterior was pinched to create a raised ridge. In the later levels of the Ravi Phase (circa 3000-2800 BCE) and the subsequent Kot Diji Phase (2800-2600 BCE), the variety of terracotta bangles increases dramatically to include flat painted bangles, rounded bangles, and one having incised decorations. While at first most of the bangles were made with red fired terracotta, in the later levels there are grey-fired bangles with highly polished and incised surfaces. In some cases, multiple bangles were joined together while still unfired to form a single, wide bangle decorated with intricate carved designs.
Figure 4. Harappa: Ravi and Kot Diji Phase Bangles
In this article it is not possible to discuss the many developments in pottery making and decoration at Harappa during the Regionalization Era, but it is important to note that the use of the potter's wheel becomes dominant by the end of the Kot Diji Phase. Along with wheel thrown pottery, mold made and hand formed pottery continue to be produced for specific shapes and functional types.