Ancient Indus males of stature seem to have had their hair tied in close buns, and with headband to further articulate their head. This is true of the priest king, shown here in a possible colored replica, the original, and in profile soon after being found in the 1920's. The figure below, with the same hair hair arrangement and headband, was found at Mohenjo-daro. Mark Kenoyer writes "Finely braided or wavy combed hair is tied into a double bun on the back of the head, and a plain fillet or headband with two hanging ribbons falls down the back.
Posts relating to people, gender, artistic representations, and common types in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.
One side of a planoconvex molded tablet found in 1995 in Mound ET at Harappa. Mark Kenoyer writes about his narrative scene depicting the killing of a water buffalo: "A person, possibly a man, with hair tied in a bun on the back of the head, impales a water buffalo with a barbed spear. The hunter's foot presses down on the water buffalo's head as he thrusts the spear into its shoulder. In Later Hindu rituals, the water buffalo sacrifice is associated with the worship of the goddess Durga, but on this seal the sacrifice takes place in the presence of a priest or deity seated in yogic position.
Not yet absolutely clear that this is an ancient Indus-style crown, but the chances are pretty good with find first reported in August. Reports on follow-up excavations in December by A.K. Pandey of the Archaeological Survey of India suggest it really could be from ancient Indus times, though final stratigraphy is awaited. The fact that the crown includes faience and carnelian, two typical ancient Indus precious materials, is promising.
The August story can be found at Archaeology News Network.
Painted and unpainted burial pottery from Harappa. The two largest vessels were found in the same burial and are described below. The other smaller vessels were found in an earlier burial and represent an older style of pottery. The bottom images shows a collection of burial pottery which come from one of the later burials towards the end of the Harappan period, possibly dating to 1900 BCE.
Tall jar with concave neck and flaring rim: The rounded base was originally supported in a ring stand. The black painted geometric designs are arranged in panels with a red slip as background.
The body may have been wrapped in a shroud, and was then placed inside a wooden coffin, which was entombed in a rectangular pit surrounded with burial offerings in pottery vessels. The man was buried wearing a long necklace of 340 graduated steatite beads and three separate pendant beads made of natural stone and three gold beads. A single copper bead was also found at his waist.
Note that the entire book describing these discoveries, Harappa Excavations 1986-1990: A Multidisciplinary Approach edited by Richard H. Meadow is available with each chapter a single PDF download.
At the peak of the Indus Civilization (Period 3, 2600-1900 BCE), the most common dress for female figurines was the belt and/or short skirt usually situated at the same point on the hips as the figurine’s hands, shown in these two terra cotta figurines found at Harappa.
Dholavira is located on Khadir Beyt, an island in the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat State, India. It was excavated between 1990 and 2005 by R.S. Bisht (the field research reports still await publication). In the same size range as Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, it has some of the best preserved stone architecture from the ancient Indus period. The city flourished between 2650 and 2100 BCE and seems to have been abandoned about 1900 BCE. It is thought to have controlled the movement of goods between the resource areas of Gujarat and core areas of the Indus plains.
Although there are fewer male than female figurines to be found at Indus sites, these terracotta males from Harappa give some sense of the principles underlying their representations. Shari Clark writes: "After many decades of research, the Indus Civilization is still something of an enigma -- an ancient civilization with a writing system that still awaits convincing decipherment, monumental architecture whose function still eludes us, no monumental art, a puzzling decline, and little evidence of the identity of its direct descendants.
Image A:Two female figurines nursing infants found at Harappa. The female figurine usually holds the infant's head to her breast with one or both arms encircling the infant.
LEFT: The female figurine usually holds the infant's head to her breast with one or both arms encircling the infant. The infants being nursed by female figurines are usually very schematically represented by a bent and pinched roll of clay with or without applied eyes.
RIGHT: The head, body, and legs of the infant are usually pressed against the female’s breast and torso with the legs dangling or gripping the female’s
An exceptional and controversial recent find in a private collection is analyzed by a leading Italian archaeologist in a fully illustrated complete online volume with possible implications for understanding ancient Indus culture. Massimo Vidale writes: "In Autumn 2009, I was invited by a private collector to see an artefact that was mentioned as unique and very complex, and reportedly belonged to the cultural sphere of the Indus civilization.