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.