(Last Updated on : 06/04/2012)
Indus Valley Sculpture was the product of Indus Valley Civilization
, which is considered to be a golden chapter as the beginning of Indian art and sculpture in 3000 B.C. According to the forms of art excavated from this valley, it can be easily deciphered that the people of this civilization were great lovers of the fine arts especially of dancing, painting, and making sculptures. The forms of art include various sculptures, seals, pottery, gold
jewellery, terracotta figures, and other interesting works of art. The level of achievement that Indian art had attained in those days can be marked with mainly two objects that were excavated from the ruins of the Indus valley. These are the busts of a priest in limestone and a bronze dancing girl is known for the tremendous sophistication and artistry even today. The other sculptures found from this period include the following:
: These seals included the carvings of peepal leaves, female figurine with forms of deities and animals. All these definite & distinct shapes of stones or seals were enshrined and worshipped during that time by people of the civilization. Some of these seals also depicted a harp like instrument, which confirm the presence of stringed musical instruments that were in use in this ancient civilization.
Bronze and Stone Sculptures
: Some sculptures made from bronze and stone depicted various dance postures, revealing the truth about the art of dancing that was prevalent in that civilization.
: These structures were also topped, at times with decorative capitals, same as that of the famous "Lions of Sarnath
Two Shell Objects
: These were found from Lothal
, one of the cities of Indus valley. Even these conclude the presence of a harp-like instrument, confirming the presence of music in this city. This minute details force us to believe that much of the Indus art is advanced for their time period.
Indus valley sculptures also emphasized more on civic life. So, animal sculptures were found their presence in every form of them. Animals like elephants occupied a special place in the life and artistic tradition of India, right from the Indus Valley Civilization to date. Elephant
s were depicted in the architectural sculpture. At the places like centuries-old temples, monasteries, forts and palaces, elephants were carved for making the ceremonial entrances.
In most of the cases, sculptures of animals from Harappan civilization denote every minute detail; for example the bottom of the statue depicts the animal is in sitting position, but even though the hidden leg was originally indicated in the final appearance without its direct & visible denotation. And many times the entire body of the animal is carved within a single unbroken outline & in single rock. In relief type of sculpture, the horns, ears, tail, and muscles were modelled particularly, giving distinct characteristics. In fact, the combination of closed outline balanced with broadly modelled masses and a minimum of incised detail can be said as the characteristic of animal sculpture from the Harappan-period.
Like elephant, another animal found in Harappan civilization that is noted for the sculptural appearance is Nandi, the vahana of Lord Shiva
. The close association between Shiva and Nandi can be marked with the presence of a statue of Nandi
at the gate of the Garbha Griha of every temple that is dedicated to Shiva. Though Nandi was given the position that is lesser than the Hindu god, numbers of temples are dedicated solely to Nandi. Even the marble statues of Nandi are prepared for decorative purposes in modern days. Another animal found in the sculptures is the Lion- the vahana of Goddess Durga
. So, carving sculptures of her, along with her other attributes the lion is also carefully carved. The Bronze images or other metallic images denote the lion in realistic way. But apart from artistic tradition the function of these animal sculptures is still unknown.
Other forms of Indus Valley Sculpture
The most striking feature of the Indus valley civilization was found that emphasis on the organization of everyday civic life. The jewellery made during that time by Indus craftsmen gives detail of their perception towards the artistry. Other objects offer tantalizing, but partial glimpses about the daily life and beliefs of the Indus people.