Sunday, June 6, 2010

HARAPPA, A Dravidian civilization Part.V

The prosperity of the Indus merchants was based not on military superiority all the evidence shows that they were peaceful people – but on intellectual sophistication. The cities used a written language for example. Excavators have discovered numerous square seals, mainly of soap stone, engraved with animals and other symbols. The seals were used as signatures, stamped onto bales of merchandise to identify the owners or issuing authority. Most scholars believe that the symbols derive from an early Dravidian language, from the same family as Tamil and other languages of southern India.
The keenly observed animals pictured on the seals offer the most impressive surviving examples of the Indus people’s artistic skills. The most common motif is a one horned antelope. It is shown in profile and could represent a two horned creature with one horn hidden. More probably, it represented a unicorn terracotta figures of this mythological creature have been found. Some seals show a grotesque animal with a man’s head, a bull’s horns, an elephant’s trunk, a ram’s forequarters, and tiger’s hind legs.
One bizarre image has fascinated archaeologists; a man seated in a yogic position, wearing horned headgear, he has been identified as a prototype of the god Shiva, a deity known as the Destroyer but also a lord of fertility. The goddesses that feature on some seals closely resemble the forms take by Shiva’s consort- variously known as kali, Parvathi or Durga.
The Indus cities also used standardized weights and measures. The basic unit of weight was equivalent to just under 14 grams; linear measurements were based on a ‘cubit’ of about 53 cm, from the length of a man’s forearm. Archaeologists found a bronze ruler at Harappa marked with cubits.

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