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Early India: Arts & Faith of Indus Valley Civilization

Arts and Amusement

  • The terracotta figurines, the paintings on the pottery, and the bronze images from the Harappan sites suggest the artistic nature of the Harappans.
  • “Priest king” of steatite, dancing girl of copper (both from Mohenjo-Daro), and stone sculptures from Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Dholavira are the important objects of art.
  • Toy carts, rattles, wheels, tops, marbles and hop scotches exhibit the amusement of the Harappan people.

Faith and Belief System

  • The Indus people worshipped nature.
  • They worshipped the pipal tree.
  • Some of the terracotta figures appear to be mother goddess.
  • Fire altars have been identified at Kalibangan.
  • They buried the dead.
  • Burials were made elaborately and evidence of cremation is also reported.
  • The Harappan burials have pottery, ornaments, jewellery, copper mirrors and beads.
  • These suggest their belief in an after life.


  • Uniformity in pottery, seals, weights and bricks reveals the existence of a polity.
  • Labour mobilisation may also suggest the existence of a political system.
  • Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro might have had a city-state like polity.
  • The uniformity in the cultural materials and measurement units point to a central authority during the Harappan times.

Authorship and the Making of Indian Culture

  • One school of thought argues that the authors of Harappan Civilisation were speakers of the Dravidian languages.
  • The archaeological evidence shows movement of the Harappans to the east and the south after the decline of their civilisation.
  • Some of the Harappan people could have moved into different parts of India.
  • However, only the decipherment of the script would give us a definite answer.

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