The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

Dancing Girl (Mohenjo-daro)

Dancing girl

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” with an assumption of her profession. This is one of two bronze art works found at Mohenjo-daro that shows a more natural pose than compared to other more formal figures. The statuette has large eyes, flat nose, healthy cheeks, curly hair and broad forehead. A tall figure with long legs and arms, high neck, subdued belly and sensuously modelled. The girl wears a number of bangles and a necklace. She has 25 bangles on her left arm and 4 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.

Many archaeologists agree that the Dancing Girl is:

“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 had knowledge of metal blending, casting and other sophisticated metallic methods. Secondly that entertainment, especially dance was an important part of their culture.

Mohenjo-daro

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

Essential Facts:

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

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Photo Credit: 1 ) By Jen with modifications by Ismoon 20 February 2012 (earlier version by Calliopejen1) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons  2)   By Saqib Qayyum (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons