Art, Jewellery and craft of Indus valley Civilization Upsc

The arts of the Indus valley civilization came throughout the last half of 3000 BCE. The artworks of the Indus valley civilization embrace Sculptures, seals, pottery, gold ornaments, terracotta models, etc.

The artworks of the Indus Valley Civilization are extremely realistic in the portrayal of human and animal figures. The two major sites of this civilization are Harappa in the North and Mohenjodaro within the South.

These 2 sites are wonderful samples of Civic design. The Indus valley civic design includes homes, Markets, Storage Facilities, public baths, offices, etc. The whole city is organized in an exceedingly grid-like pattern. These cities had an awfully smart drainage system.

Harappa and Mohenjodaro are presently in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In India, there are Lothal and Dholavira each is in Gujarat, Rakhigarhi in Haryana, Ropar within the Punjab, Kalibangan, Balathal in Rajasthan. etc.

Indus Valley Sculptures

Stone Statues

Three-dimensional models are found at Harappa and Mohenjodaro. There are two prominent male figures one is made of red sandstone and another one is made of steatite.

One is a torso made of Red Sandstone. Steatite figure is a Beared man with a bust, this man is believed to be a priest, wrapped in the scarf beneath the right arm, and left shoulder covered.

This shawl is designed with trefoil patterns, This bearded man figure has elongated, little, half-closed eyes. The nose is well-shaped, with average size mouth, the moustache is the close-cut and short beard, whiskers.

The ears bear a likeness to double shells with a hole at the centre. Hair moves aloof from one another in the middle and a plain-woven fillet is passed around the head. An armlet is in the right hand and holes in the neck show a necklace.

Arts of the Indus Valley-Beared man with bust

Bronze Casting

Harappans made bronze statues using the lost wax technique. Made Human and Animal figures. The best example of a Bronze statue made by the Lost Wax technique is the famous ‘Dancing Girl’.

This method is famous all over the Indus Valley Civilization. The copper dog and bird of Lothal. Bronze figure of Bull from Kalibangan. Daimabad, a Chalcolithic site provided good examples of metal cast sculptures.

Terracotta Figures

The terracotta figures were more realistic in Kalibangan (Gujarat). The terracotta figures include Mother Goddess. It includes some figurines such as Bearded males with curled hair.

The bearded figurines have rigid posture, legs slightly apart and arms parallel to the body. Terracotta mask of horned God is also found.

Some of the terracotta objects found are Toy carts with wheels, rattles, birds and animals, whistles, gamesmen, and discs.


Seals of the Indus Valley are made of terracotta, faience, copper, chert, agate, steatite. Seals include figures of unicorn bull, rhinoceros, tiger, bison, buffalo, goat, etc

These seals were for commercial purposes, carried as Persons or company’s identity cards, or logos. The size of the standard Harappan seal is 2×2 square inches, generally made of Soft river stone, steatite.

Every seal contains some kind of pictographic script that is yet to be deciphered. Some found seals were made of gold, ivory. These seal bears, a variety of motifs, bulls without horns and hump, elephant, tiger, goat, and monsters too.

One of the most important seals is the Pashupati seal/ Female Deity with the figure in centre and animals around. Pashupati seal depicts a human figure seated cross leg, elephant and tiger at the right side and rhinoceros and buffalo st the left side and two antelopes below the seat.

A considerable number of seals found in Mohenjadaro date around 2500 to 1500 BCE. Copper tablets of square and rectangular shape with animal, human figure on one side, and inscription on the other side is also found.

The Burin is used to cut the figures and copper tablets. These copper tablets appear to Amulet ( One who possesses them to have good luck, free from danger, etc). Most animals are portrayed in copper tablets.


The pottery of the Indus valley is mostly wheel-made and very few hands made. Plain pottery is more compared to painted ware. Plain pottery is generally made up of red clay, with fine red or grey slip and without fine red or grey slip.

Geometric and animal designs are drawn in glossy black paint on black painted ware with a fine coating of red slip. Geometric patterns in red, black, green, and rarely white and yellow decorated small vases of Polychrome pottery.

Incised ware is also rare and the incised decoration was confined to the bases of the pans, always inside and to the dishes of offering stands.

Perforated pottery includes a large hole at the bottom and small holes all over the walls and was probably used for straining liquor. Miniature vessels mostly less than half an inch in height is particularly, well crafted to raise excitement.

Ornaments used in Indus Valley Civilization

The people have a great sense of fashion, they decorated themselves with ornaments made of valuable metals, gems, bone, and baked clay. The common ornaments worn are finger rings, armlets, fillets, necklaces, etc.

Jewellery found at Mohenjodaro and Lothal incorporates 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.

Dead bodies found at Farmana in Haryana were buried with ornaments. Evidence of bead factories found at Chanhudaro and Lothal

These beads are made of cornelian, amethyst, jasper, crystal, quartz, steatite, turquoise, lapis lazuli, etc. Metals such as copper, bronze, gold and shell, faience, terracotta, or burnt clay were also used in beads making.

Cylindrical, spherical, barrel-shaped, and segmented are some of the shapes these beads are made. Some had incising or painting and some with designs etched onto them. Model of animals, especially monkeys, and squirrels used as pinheads and beads.

The spinning of cotton and wool was very common in the valley from the pieces of evidence of a large number of spindles and spindle whorls in the houses. Men and women wore two pieces of cloth similar to Dhoti. Cinnabar is used as cosmetic and face paint, lipstick, and collyrium as eyeliner.

Indus valley civilization jewellery

In the Indus society, the most commonly found artefacts are Jewellery. Jewellery is adorned by both men and women in this society. The Jewellery is made of gold, silver, copper, ivory etc.

The people of the Indus Valley Civilization were the first to explore Jewellery making in the world. Many researchers support this argument. By 1500 BC, the Indus valley people created moulds for metal and terracotta ornaments.

Gold Ornaments such as necklaces, bracelets, bangles, rings, etc are found here. Both women and men wore jewellery. Also, small beads were placed in men’s and women’s hair. Some ornaments such as Necklaces, armlets, finger rings, fillets etc were commonly worn by both men and women.


The jewellery of the indus valley civilization is still studied and researched due to the people’s skill in the gem and precious stone work.

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[…] Jewellery of Indus valley civilization Upsc […]

* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
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