Q. What do the art objects that have survived tell us about the daily life of the people of the Indus Valley Civilisation?
A. Introduction: The art objects belonging to Indus Valley Civilization range from sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewellery, terracotta figures, etc.
1. Bearded Man: The bust of a bearded man has been excavated at Mohenjo Daro. The bearded man has been associated by scholars to be equivalent to a Priest-King. It’s beard, hairstyle, shawl, method of draping it, an amulet on the arm, all throw light on the characteristics of Harappan Civilization.
2. Bronze Dancing Girl: The beautiful image of a naked dancing girl in Bronze, and other bronze images, throw light on the highly developed Lost-Wax Technique the Harappans use to create such images. This tells us about their technological prowess. Apart from this, the ‘dancing girl’ has her right hand on her hip, and left arm covered in bangles, in a dancing pose, throw light on the sensibilities of the Harappans in terms of depiction of women.
3. The large number of Terracotta figurines of Mother Goddess wherein she is wearing a fan-shaped head-dress, tell us that the Harappans worshipped Mother Goddess.
4. The other terracotta figurines of toys, animals, terracotta carts etc. are not very sophisticated in terms of their artwork as compared with seals and images, and probably tell us that these were meant for a different class of people.
5. Pashupati Seal: The seal of Pashupati with 4 animals surrounding him, and two at his feet probably coincides with Pashupati (Lord of Beasts) and throw light on their religious practices.
6. Apart from this, 2000 other seals that have been discovered tell us that these were probably used to signify personal property or as modern-day identity cards.
7. Pottery: The Indus Valley pottery consists chiefly of very fine wheelmade wares, very few being hand-made. A large quantity of pottery excavated from the sites, enable us to understand the gradual evolution of various design motifs as employed in different shapes, and styles. The design motifs throw light on the life of Harappans.
8. The discovery of Perforated pottery tells us that probably these were used for straining liquor and hence tells us that liquor was consumed.
9. The large number of beads and ornaments that have been discovered tell us that the Harappans were conscious and aware of fashion, and took great care in embellishing themselves with these. Necklaces, fillets, armlets and finger-rings etc. are objects that were worn by both genders, which tells us about the fashion sensibilities of the people of the time.