Saturday, March 9, 2024
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Indus Valley Collections

Indus Valley Collections

The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, was one of the world’s earliest urban civilizations, flourishing in the Bronze Age around 2600 to 1900 BCE. It developed along the floodplains of the Indus River and its tributaries in what is now Pakistan, as well as parts of India and Afghanistan. The civilization is characterized by its well-planned cities, with advanced municipal sanitation systems, brick houses, and grid-pattern streets. The major cities included Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Dholavira, and Lothal. The Indus Valley people were skilled in metallurgy, pottery, and urban planning. They created advanced drainage systems and had a sophisticated understanding of city planning.


Major archaeologists of Indus Valley Civilisation.

Sir John Marshall was the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India and led the first excavations at Harappa in 1921-1922. His work laid the foundation for the understanding of the Indus Valley Civilization. Rakhal Das Banerji was an Indian archaeologist who conducted extensive excavations at Mohenjo-Daro in the 1920s and 1930s. His work helped reveal the urban planning and advanced features of the civilization.

Mortimer Wheeler was a British archaeologist who conducted excavations at the site of Harappa in the 1940s. His work furthered the understanding of the Indus Valley Civilization’s urban planning and culture.


Important Locations of Indus Valley Civilization


Harappa Located in present-day Punjab, Pakistan, Harappa was one of the earliest cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. It was first excavated in the 1920s and provided crucial insights into the urban planning and culture of the civilization. Mohenjo-Daro Situated in the Sindh province of present-day Pakistan, Mohenjo-Daro is one of the largest and most well-known cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. It was discovered in the 1920s and is famous for its sophisticated urban layout and advanced drainage system. Dholavira is located in the Kutch district of Gujarat, India. It is one of the five largest Harappan sites and is known for its impressive water management system, with reservoirs and channels. Lothal located in Gujarat, India, Lothal was a major port city of the Indus Valley Civilization. It had a dockyard with channels connected to the Gulf of Khambhat, indicating its importance in maritime trade. Kalibangan Situated in present-day Rajasthan, India, Kalibangan was an important Harappan site excavated in the 1960s. It revealed insights into the town planning, fortification, and craft production of the civilization. Rakhigarhi is located in the Haryana state of India and is one of the largest Harappan sites. Excavations at Rakhigarhi have provided valuable information about urbanism, craft specialization, and trade networks of the civilization.


Descriptions of the Collections


The majority of the terracotta objects are collected from the Harappan site, Kunal and Rakhigarhi in Haryana. Collections purchased from the National Museum, New Delhi is also present here.


Harappan Pottery        (Location : Harappan Site, Kunal, Haryana)

Harappan pottery is a significant aspect of the material culture of the Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization. The pottery produced by the Harappans provides valuable insights into their daily life, technological advancements, trade networks, and cultural practices. Harappan pottery was typically wheel-thrown and made using locally available materials such as clay. The pottery was fired at high temperatures, resulting in a durable and often well-fired product.


Terracotta objects 2500 to 1700BCE      (Location: Rakhigarhi, Haryana)


Terracotta objects excavated from Harappan site KunaL in the period of 2500 to 1700 BCE are preserved here. Terracotta mask of a horned deity, Toy carts with wheels, whistles, rattles, birds and animals, gamesmen and discs were also kept here.

Dancing girl (Mohenjodaro) 

Dancing Girl is a prehistoric bronze sculpture made in lost-wax casting about c. 2300–1750 BC in the Indus Valley civilisation city of Mohenjo-daro (in modern-day Pakistan) which was one of the earliest cities. The statue is 10.5 centimetres (4.1 in) tall, and depicts a nude young woman or girl with stylized ornaments, standing in a confident, naturalistic pose. Dancing Girl is highly regarded as a work of art..


Seal Showing Man Between To Tigers

This drama is depicted on at least two other seals from the ancient Indus metropolis. In other scenes from Harappa, this is a female deity standing on an elephant with a spoked wheel sign above her head.


Unicorn seal 

The unicorn is the most common motif on Indus seals and appears to represent a mythical animal that Greek and Roman sources trace back to the Indian subcontinent.

A relatively long inscription of eight symbols runs along the top of the seal. The elongated body and slender arching neck is typical of unicorn figurines, as are the tail with bushy end and the bovine hooves. This figure has a triple incised line depicting a pipal leaf shaped blanket or halter, while most unicorn figures have only a double incised line.

The mother goddess (c 2500.Bc) 

Excavated from Mohanjodaro. The people of Harappa seemed to have worshipped the Mother Goddess and Shiva Pashupati. The Mother Goddess was also known as Shakti; perhaps, they believed her to be the source of all creation. They also worshipped the male god, Shiva Pashupati. He was the lord of the animals.


Seal showing pipal tree and head (2500_BC) 

A seal from Mohenjodaro found by Wheeler in the 1920’s. From his 1931 text: “The plant on the [seal] has been identified as a pipal tree, which in India is the Tree of Creation. The arrangement is very conventional and from the lower part of the stem spring two heads similar to those of the so-called unicorn.”


Toy animal with movable head (2500 BC) 

The toy animal, with a moveable head from Mohenjodaro, belonging to the same period i.e. 2500 B.C., is one of the most interesting objects found during the excavations which shows how the children were kept amused and happy with toys that they could manipulate by moving their heads with the help of a string.


Male head, Mohenjodaro

The upper lip is shaved and a closely cropped and combed beard lines the pronounced lower jaw. The stylized almond shaped eyes are framed by long eyebrows. The wide mouth is very similar to that on the “Priest-King” sculpture. Stylized ears are made of a double curve with a central knob.

Bull seal, Harappa 

The majestic zebu bull, with its heavy dewlap and wide curving horns is perhaps the most impressive motif found on the Indus seals. Generally carved on large seals with relatively short inscriptions, the zebu motif is found almost exclusively at the largest cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa.


Bottle neck of a jar 

Similar jars have been found in a number of Indus sites such as Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Chanhudaro and others. They have also been found in Hili in modern-day UAE and since they are not part of the local assemblage there, it clearly shows that these jars were brought there from Harappan sites.