Pre-History & Archaeology
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C. 2500-2400 BC
Place of Origin: Mohenjodaro
Dimensions: 1-6/16 x 1-6/16x ¼ Inches
Acc. No. DK 5175/143
This seal with anthropomorphic form of ithyphallic Shiva is one of the most significant Indus finds attesting the prevalence of Shiva-cult, his personalized Mahayogi or Pashupati form as also his aniconic 'ling' form, as early as Indus days and much before the emergence of Vedic cult. The seal has been engraved on a chip of steatite, a soft stone, decay-resistant but soft to carve. The discovery of the large number of seals leads some scholars to conclude that seals-cutting was one of the major industries of Harappan settlements. The masterpieces of art these seals carry representations of religious character and are index to the type of culture and social life the people led those days. The pictographic inscriptions on the seals are equally significant for they hold key to the language the Indus people used. Seals must have been an integral part of trade mechanisms. Religious beliefs and practices of the people can also be inferred from the seals.
This seal with buffalo-horned figure almost unanimously identified as Shiva in his form as Pashupati, Lord of animals - Shiva's earliest representation preceding Vedas by far, is the best known and most widely contextual Harappan seal. The figure of Shiva represented on the seal is ithyphallic. He has been portrayed as seated cross-legged, that is, in Yogic 'padmasana', and wide-armed. The arms of the image pointing towards the earth, the Yogic nature of the wide - lapped stance and the curved horns, transmit power and establish equilibrium. Natural enemies, wild and virile animals, buffalo, leaping tiger, rhinoceros and elephant all amicably surround the figure. The un-deciphered script is arranged horizontally in the space above the headdress.