ARTS OF THE INDUS VALLEY :
source: 11th NCERT :
- The arts of the Indus Valley Civilisation emerged during the second half of the third millennium BCE.
- It include sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewellery, terracotta figures, etc.
1) Fine artistic sensibilities
2) Vivid imagination.
3) Their delineation of human and animal figures was highly realistic in nature,
4) The anatomical details included in them was unique,
5) In the case of terracotta art, the modeling of animal figures was done in an extremely careful manner.
6) There was also a highly developed drainage system.
The two major sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation:
1) The cities of Harappa in the north and
2) The Mohenjodaro in the south—showcase one of earliest examples of civic planning.
3) Other markers were houses, markets, storage facilities, offices, public baths, etc., arranged in a grid-like pattern.
4) While Harappa and Mohenjodaro are situated in Pakistan, the important sites excavated in India are :
a)Lothal and Dholavira in Gujarat,
b)Rakhigarhi in Haryana, Ropar in the Punjab,
c)Kalibangan and Balathal in Rajasthan, etc.
1. Stone Statues :
1) The stone statuaries found at Harappa and Mohenjodaro are excellent examples of handling 3D volumes.
2) In stone are two male figures— one is atorso in red sandstone and the other is a bust of a bearded man in steatite—which are extensively discussed.
· The figure of the bearded man interpreted as a priest,
· It is draped in a shawl coming under the right arm and covering the left shoulder.
· This shawl is decorated with trefoil patterns.
· The eyes are a little elongated, and
· half-closed as in meditative concentration.
· The nose is well formed and of medium size;
· the mouth is of average size with close-cut moustache
· a short beard and whiskers;
· the ears resemble double shells with a hole in the middle.
· An armlet is worn on the right hand and holes around the neck suggest a necklace.
2. Bronze Casting :
· The art of bronze-casting was practised on a wide scale by the Harappans.
· Their bronze statues were made using the ‘lost wax’ technique
· In which the wax figures were first covered with a coating of clay and allowed to dry.
· Then the wax was heated and the molten wax was drained out through a tiny hole made in the clay cover.
· The hollow mould thus created was filled with molten metal which took the original shape of the object.
· Once the metal cooled, the clay cover was completely removed.
· Metal casting appears to be a continuous tradition .
· In bronze we find human as well as animal figures, the best example :
A .‘Dancing Girl’.
B .the buffalo with its uplifted head, back and sweeping horns
C .and the goat are of artistic merit.
· Bronze casting was popular at all the major centres of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
· The copper dog and bird of Lothal and the bronze figure of a bull from Kalibangan are in no way inferior to the human figures of copper and bronze from Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
3. Terracotta :
- The Indus Valley people made terracotta images also.
- They are more realistic in Gujarat sites and Kalibangan.
- The most important among the Indus figures are those representing the mother goddess.
· In terracotta,
a. we also find a few figurines of bearded males.
b. Toy carts with wheels, whistles, rattles, birds and animals, gamesmen and discs were also rendered in terracotta.
4. Seals :
- Archaeologists have discovered thousands of seals,
- Usually made of steatite, and occasionally of agate, chert, copper, faience and terracotta,
- with beautiful figures of animals, such as unicorn bull, rhinoceros, tiger, elephant, bison, goat, buffalo, etc.
- The realistic rendering of these animals in various moods is remarkable.
- The purpose of producing seals was mainly commercial.
- The standard Harappan seal was a square plaque 2×2 square inches, usually made from the soft river stone, steatite.
- Some seals have also been found in gold and ivory.
- They all bear a great variety of motifs,
- most often of animals including those of the bull, with or without the hump, the elephant, tiger, goat etc..
5. Pottery :
- The Indus Valley pottery consists chiefly of very fine wheelmade wares, very few being hand-made.
- Plain pottery is more common than painted ware.
- Plain pottery is generally of red clay, with or without a fine red or grey slip.
- The black painted ware has a fine coating of red slip on which geometric and animal designs are executed in glossy black paint.
- Polychrome pottery is rare and mainly comprises small vases decorated with geometric patterns in red, black, and green, rarely white and yellow.
6. Beads and Ornaments :
- armlets and finger-rings were commonly worn by both sexes, women wore girdles, earrings and anklets.
- Hoards of jewellery found at Mohenjodaro and Lothal include necklaces of gold and semi-precious stones, copper bracelets and beads, gold earrings and head ornaments, faience pendants and buttons, and beads of steatite and gemstones.
- All ornaments are well crafted.
- It may be noted that a cemetery has been found at Farmana in Haryana where dead bodies were buried with ornaments.
- The bead industry seems to have been well developed as evident from the factories discovered at Chanhudaro and Lothal.
- Beads were made of cornelian, amethyst, jasper, crystal, quartz, steatite, turquoise, lapis lazuli, etc.
- Metals like copper, bronze and gold, and shell, faience and terracotta or burnt clay were also used for manufacturing beads.
- The Harappan people also made brilliantly naturalistic models of animals, especially monkeys and squirrels, used as pin-heads and beads.
- It is evident from the discovery of a large number of spindles and spindle whorls in the houses of the Indus Valley that spinning of cotton and wool was very common.
- The fact that both the rich and the poor practised spinning is indicated by finds of whorls made of the expensive faience as also of the cheap pottery and shell.
- From archaeological finds it appears that the people of the Indus Valley were conscious of fashion.
- among all. Cinnabar was used as a cosmetic and facepaint, lipstick and collyrium (eyeliner) were also known to them.
- The artists and craftsmen of the Indus Valley were extremely skilled in a variety of crafts—metal casting, stone carving, making and painting pottery and making terracotta