One of the most evocative seals from Mohenjo-daro, depicting a deity with horned headdress and bangles on both arms, standing in a pipal (sacred fig) tree and looking down on a kneeling worshiper. A human head rests on a small stool and giant ram and seven figures in procession complete the narrative. Asko Parpola writes "An anthropomorphic figure has knelt in front of a fig tree, with hands raised in respectful salutation, prayer or worship. This reverence suggests the divinity of its object, another anthropomorphic figure standing inside the fig tree.
Posts relating to people, gender, artistic representations, and common types in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.
"The importance of females as symbols of religious power [in Indus Civilization] is supported by the fact that figurines of women or mother goddesses are more common than male figurines." (J.M. Kenoyer). Shown is a female figurine from Harappa with four flowers arranged on the front part of a fan shaped headdress with cups at two sides and braided edging. This figurine is adorned with a triple strand choker with pendant beads and a double strand necklace with central disc pendant.
See also Women of Harappa.
Seated male sculpture from Mohenjo-daro with shell inlay still remaining in one eye. The braided or combed hair lays back straight and a plain fillet or ribbon encircles the head and falls down the back of the neck. Two strands of a ribbon or braided hair hang over the shoulder. The stylized ear is a simple cup shape with a hole in the center. The upper lip is shaved and a short combed beard covers the lower jaw. The forward projecting head and large lips may reflect a specific personality or may be due to the particular style of carving.
Nude male figurine or deity from Mohenjo-daro. Note the wide, spreading beard. He is wearing a broken headdress that may have had two curving horns. For additional information on the representation of masculinity, see also Men of Harappa A and Men of Harappa B.
For more male and female figurines, see also Embodying Indus Life: Terra Cotta Figurines.
Molded tablets from Trench 11 at Harappa sometimes have impressions on one, two, three or four sides. This group of molded tablets shows the complete set of motifs. One side is comprised entirely of script and has six characters, the first of which (on the very top) appears to be some sort of animal. A second side shows a human figure grappling with a short horned bull. A small plant with at least six branches is discernible behind the individual. The third panel portrays a figure seated on a charpoy or throne in a yogic position, with arms resting on the knees.
Miniature mask from Mohenjo-daro of bearded horned deity. The face is made from a mold and thumb impressions from pressing the clay are visible on the back. The mouth is somber and the long almond shaped eyes are open. The short horns arch from the top of the forehead and two long ears lay against the horns. Two holes on either side allow the mask to be attached to a puppet or worn as an amulet. 5.3 x 3.5 cm.
See also Ritual Mask.
Another skeleton from Harappa, this from Marshall's excavations published in 1931. He writes: "At Harappa several examples of this mode of sepulture [complete inhumation], which are unquestionably orthodox, have already been exposed in the lower stratum of Cemetery H, and more are likely to come to view as the excavation progresses."
An unusual male figurine found at Harappa with a fan shaped headdress and choker around the neck may be a representation of alternative gender in the ancient Indus civilization. These are usually characteristic of female figurines.
Three female figurines with painted fan-shaped headdresses from Harappa. Could these headdresses have represented black hair stretched over a frame of bamboo or other material?