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The famous Painting and other crafts of harappan civilization

Updated on March 18, 2016

indus valley painting


Harappan products


The Harappan City life

It is assumed that a Harappan city was a very busy place. People pursued different occupations. There were jewellers, weavers, potters, toy maker, stonecutters, seal -makers, masons, traders, farmers and boat – makers. People even travelled to distant lands to get precious stones and other material.

Harappans were also aware of metals including copper, bronze, gold and silver. Copper and bronze were mainly used to make tools, weapons, vessels and ornaments. However, gold and silver were used to make ornaments and vessels only.

Clay spindles found during excavations indicate that yarn was spun. People wore clothes that were made of cotton and wool. The discovery of needles and buttons suggests that people stitched clothes.

Ornaments such as necklaces, amulets, finger rings and bangles


the Indus Valley


Painting on the pottery indicate that the people of the Valley

Pottery and painting

Pottery is found in very large quantities in the ancient cities of the Harappan Civilization. With the potter's wheel Harappan craftsmen produced pottery of regular shapes. The pottery was plain or decorated and some of it was glazed. Its red surface was painted with black pigment and pleasing colours. Birds, animals and human figures were artistically depicted on them. In one case there is a she – goat suckling her kid, while a hen loiters nearby. In another, a man is shown carrying two large fish – nets on his shoulders. On one of the painted pots, discovered at Lothal, a bird holding a fish is depicted preached on a tree while a fox – like animal is sitting below. It reminds one of the story of the Panchatantra wherein the fox praised the crow seated on the top for its sweet voice and thus made it open its beak and drop the morsel held by it. Painting on the pottery indicate that the people of the Valley were not only excellent craftsmen but good painters as well.


The spindles, needles and buttons found at different sites connected with this civilization show that the people of that age not only new the art of spinning and weaving but they also stitched their clothes.

Ornaments such as necklaces, amulets, finger rings and bangles were worn both by men women. Besides, women put on girdles, nose rings, earnings and anklets. People were aware of the use of gold, copper, silver and precious ones such as jade, crystal and gems. Women dressed their hair and used hair – pins made of bone, ivory or metal. The discovery of small containers with traces of collyrium and other pigments shows that cosmetics were used by women.

Harappan craftsmen had acquired great skills in making fine ornaments and jewellery from gold, silver and semi – precious stones. Exquisitely made carnelian beads were an important item of export to Mesopotamian cities.

Other crafts

The discovery of various objects suggests the existence of many arts and crafts in the Harappan Civilization. Bronze Smiths made weapons and tools such as axes, saw knives and spears. Brick – laying and seal - making were other crafts which flourished during the period.

Indus Valley - Trade


The Harappan Trade

The Harappan had good relations with their neighbouring civilisations. They had a flourishing internal as well as external trade. Occurrence of Harappan artefacts found outside the Harappan region and of foreign objects within the region points towards the existence of long distance trade. Silver, tin, gold, copper and precious metal were brought from outside, perhaps from Persia (present – day Iran0, Mesopotamia (present – day Iraq), Afghanistan and Oman. Discovery of Mesopotamian cylindrical seals from Harappan cities and Harappan seals from the cities of ancient Mesopotamia, pints towards trading links with Mesopotamia. Gold could have come from present – day Karnataka and semi – precious stones from present – day Gujarat, Iron and Afghanistan. A dockyard excavated at Lothal gives a clear hint of the overseas trade.


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