India - Ancient Art


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Arts in the Indus Valley Civilization

indus valley artThe people of Indus were great lovers of the fine arts, and especially dancing, painting, and sculpture. Various sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewelry, terracotta figures, and other interesting works of art indicate that they had fine artistic sensibilities. Their art is highly realistic. The anatomical detail of much of their art is unique, and terracotta art is also noted for its extremely careful modeling of animal figures. Sir John Marshall once reacted with surprise when he saw the famous Indus bronze statuette of the slender-limbed "dancing girl" in Mohenjo-daro:

". When I first saw them I found it difficult to believe that they were prehistoric; they seemed to completely upset all established ideas about early art. Modeling such as this was unknown in the ancient world up to the Hellenistic age of Greece, and I thought, therefore, that some mistake must surely have been made; that these figures had found their way into levels some 3000 years older than those to which they properly belonged. . Now, in these statuettes, it is just this anatomical truth which is so startling; that makes us wonder whether, in this all-important matter, Greek artistry could possibly have been anticipated by the sculptors of a far-off age on the banks of the Indus."

Bronze, terracotta, and stone sculptures in dancing poses also reveal much about their art of dancing. Similarly, a harp-like instrument depicted on an Indus seal and two shell objects from Lothal confirm that stringed musical instruments were in use in the ancient Indus Valley civilization. Today, much of the Indus art is considered advanced for their time period.