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Pre-History & Archaeology

Dish-container - on stand

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Dish-container - on stand
C. 2500 B.C.

Place of origin: Harappa
Materials: Terracotta
Height: 20.5 cm
Acc. No. H795/A (C) 1450 H 795/A (C)

This deep tray or dish-container, exceptionally finished and polished, is one of the highly accomplished types of polished wares discovered in excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. A splendid piece, most likely it was used as a ritual vessel, an 'Offering Stand' or 'Censer'. Though not many complete specimens of such vessel have been found, the recovery of a large number of its fragments from various sites suggests that this type of utensil was very commonly used. It further suggests that the vessel was a ritual artefact used perhaps to hold libations offered during sacred rituals.

It consists of two parts, the tray, or the dish, and the highly artistic stand. As is apparent, both parts have been independently moulded on the potter's wheel and luted together afterwards using still finer clay. The dish, the vessel's crowning component, would be placed on the heavy pedestal - a three-line composition cast with a ridge like pattern. The artefact has been coated with burnished slip ranging in colour from pink to deep red. Though largely washed, the vessel was once decorated all over with beautiful black paintings.

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