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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Dancing Girl (Mohenjo-daro) from the Indus Valley Civilization

Dancing Girl, Mohenjo-daro

Dancing Girl, Mohenjo-Daro – Art from the Indus Valley Civilization

The Dancing Girl is a bronze statuette created over 4,500 years ago and is a rare and unique masterpiece. It was found in the ancient Mohenjo-Daro site in 1926. This statue is a cultural artifact reflecting the aesthetics of a female body as conceptualized during that historical period. The bronze girl was made using the lost-wax casting technique and shows the expertise of the people in making bronze works during that time.

The statuette was named “Dancing Girl” based on an assumption of her profession. She is one of two bronze artworks found at Mohenjo-Daro that shows a more natural pose than compared to other more formal figures. The statuette has large eyes, a flat nose, healthy cheeks, curly hair, and a broad forehead. She is a tall figure with long legs and arms, high neck, subdued belly, and sensuously modeled. The girl wears some bangles and a necklace. She has 25 bracelets on her left arm and four bangles on her right arm and is holding an object in her left hand. Her long hair styled as big bun rested on her shoulder.

Archaeologists regard the Dancing Girl as:

“the most captivating piece of art from an Indus site.”

The statue led to two important discoveries about “The Indus Valley Civilisation” also known as the “Harappan Civilisation.” Firstly that they knew metal blending, casting, and other sophisticated metallic methods, secondly, that entertainment, especially dance, was an essential part of their culture.

Dancing Girl Mohenjo-daro

Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-Daro, with the Great Bath in the foreground and the Buddhist Stupa in the background

Mohenjo-Daro

Mohenjo-Daro, meaning ‘Mound of the Dead Men’ is an archaeological site in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2500 BCE, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation. It is also one of the world’s earliest major cities, contemporaneous with the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Minoan Crete.

Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned in the 19th century BCE as the Indus Valley Civilization declined, and the site was not rediscovered until the 1920s. Significant excavation has since been conducted at the site of the city.

At its height, the Indus Civilization spanned much of what is now Pakistan and North India. It extended westwards to the Iranian border, south to Gujarat in India and northwards to Bactria. Its major urban centers were at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Lothal, Kalibangan, Dholavira, and Rakhigarhi. Mohenjo-Daro was the most advanced city of its time, with remarkably sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning.

Explore National Museum, New Delhi

Dancing Girl (bronze), Mohenjo-Daro

  • Title:                      Dancing Girl (bronze), Mohenjo-Daro
  • Year:                      c. 2500 BC
  • Place of Origin:     Mohenjo-Daro
  • Material:               Bronze
  • Dimensions:         10.5 cm × 5 cm (4 1/8 in × 2 in )
  • Museum:              National Museum, New Delhi

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Reflections about the Dancing Girl, Mohenjo-Daro

  • The most captivating piece of art from the Indus Valley Civilization.

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“Great minds discuss ideas, medium minds discuss events,
and little minds discuss people.”

– Hindu Proverb

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Photo Credit: 1 ) Gary Todd [CC0]  2)   By Saqib Qayyum (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons   

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