NCERT Class 11 Culture Chapter 2: Arts of Indus Valley Civilization YouTube Lecture Handouts

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NCERT Class 11 Indian Art & Culture Chapter 2: Arts of Indus Valley Civilization

During 2nd half of 3rd millennium BCE

Sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewellery, terracotta figures

Fine sensibility and vivid imagination

Realistic human and animal figure – anatomical figures

Harappa in north & Mohenjo-Daro in south (both in Pakistan)

Lothal and Dholavira in Gujarat, Rakhigarhi in Haryana, Ropar in the Punjab, Kalibangan and Balathal in Rajasthan (in India)

Known for

  • Civic planning
  • House
  • Market
  • Storage
  • Office
  • Public bath
  • Drainage system
Map of Indus Valley Civilization

Stone Statues

  • 3-D volumes
  • 2 male figures – one in torso in red sandstone (socket holes in neck and shoulder for attachment of head and arms) & other is beard man in steatite (interpreted as priest draped in shawl decorated with trefoil patterns, elongated half closed eye in meditation, well-formed nose with close cut moustache, short beard, double shell ears with middle hole)
Stone Statues

Bronze Casting

Lost Wax technique – wax was covered with clay and allowed to dry, wax molten and removed through hole. From same hole molten metal was filled and clay cover was removed.

Seen in all centers of Indus valley civilization

Dancing girl figure -4 inch copper figure in Mohenjo-Daro with bangles on left arm and bracelet on right arm

Bronze Casting

Buffalo with uplifted head, back and sweeping horns

Copper dog and bird of Lothal and the bronze figure of a bull from Kalibangan

Human figures of copper and bronze from Harappa and Mohenjodaro

The late Harappan and Chalcolithic sites like Daimabad in Maharashtra yielded excellent examples of metal-cast

Mainly human and animal figures


Mainly in crude form

Seen in Kalibangan

Mother goddess – pellet eyes and beaked nose


Figurines of bearded males with coiled hair, their posture rigidly upright, legs slightly apart, and the arms parallel to the sides of the body

Horned deity

Toy carts with wheels, whistles, rattles, birds and animals, gamesmen and discs


  • Made of steatite (soft river stone) , also agate, chert, copper, faience (tin-glazed pottery) and terracotta
  • Showed animals in various moods
  • Commercial purpose
  • Amulets as modern day identity cards
  • Standard seal size inches
  • Pictographic script
  • Made of gold and ivory
  • Bull with & without hump (head turned to right and cord around neck) , elephant, tiger, goat and monster
  • Pashupati seal – human figure cross-legged in center with elephant & tiger on right and rhino and buffalo on left side with antelopes below the seal- 2500 - 1500 BCE
  • Seal with figure on one side and inscription on other side or inscription on both sides


Gradual evolution of the design

Fine wheel-made wares with few handmade

Plain pottery (red clay) was more common

Black painted ware has a fine coating of red slip on which geometric and animal designs are executed in glossy black paint.

Painted earthen jar – shape manipulated by fingers, a after baking they are painted black, with high polishing – simple designs of vegetal and geometric forms with abstraction


Polychrome pottery is rare – small vases with decorated geometric patterns in red, black, green and rarely white and yellow

Incised ware is confined to base of pans

Perforated pottery includes a large hole at the bottom and small holes all over the wall, and was probably used for straining liquor

Miniature vessels – less than half an inch

Mainly with graceful curves and rarely with straight and angular shapes

Beads and Ornaments

  • Made from metals and gemstones to bone and baked clay.
  • Necklaces, fillets, armlets and finger-rings were commonly worn by both sexes
  • Women wore girdles, earrings and anklets
  • Hoards of jeweler found at Mohenjo-Daro and Lothal include 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.
  • All ornaments are well crafted.
  • Cemetery has been found at Farmana in Haryana where dead bodies were buried with ornaments.
  • Bead industry discovered at Chanhudaro and Lothal. Beads were made of cornelian, amethyst, jasper, crystal, quartz, steatite, turquoise, lapis lazuli, etc.
  • Beads were disc shaped, cylindrical, sphere, barrel shaped and segmented; some were made of two or more stones cemented together
  • Models of monkeys and squirrels as pin heads and beads
  • Discovery of spindle and spindle whorls in house - indicates spinning of cotton and wool (both by rich and poor as there was expensive faience and cheap pottery shell)
  • Different hairstyle and beard was common – fashion was popular
  • Cinnabar used as cosmetic and face paint, lipstick and collyrium (eyeliner)
  • Stone structural remains of Dholavira – how Indus Valley people used stone in construction