Art of the Ancient World, C. 5000 B.c.e.–400 C.E.

Art of India and Southeast Asia

What are Indus seals?

Indus seals are small, flat squares carved from stone; each with an impression carved onto one side, and a knob protruding from the other. Most Indus Seals depict naturalistic animals and an as-yet untranslated script. The one-horned cow is a common animal featured on Indus Seals, sometimes portrayed next to an altar. Other animals include the elephant, rhinoceros, and tiger. Due to the fact that the language remains a mystery, the exact function of these seals is still unknown, though scholars think they were used to stamp clay as a method of keeping business and trade records.

Many Indus Seals depict animals and include an untranslated form of writing. The Indus Valley Civilization flourished in present-day Pakistan and India during the Bronze Age.


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