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Terracotta Bangle Fragments

Terracotta bangle fragments decorated with red trefoils outlined in white on a green ground from late Period 3C deposits. This image shows both sides of the two fragments


Terra Cotta Bangles, Mohenjo-daro


Many of the terra cotta bangles were originally painted with black or red designs. Such ornaments are found in the thousands and may have been worn, broken and discarded much as glass bangles are used today throughout the subcontinent.




Two copper/bronze bangles, one from Harappa and the other from Mohenjo-daro. The bangles were made from a round hammered rod bent in a full circle. The space between the ends of the bangle would be pried apart to slip it over the wrist.

Dimensions of left bangle: 6 cm diameter, 0.73 cm thickness
Harappa National Museum, Karachi
Dimensions of right bangle: 6.13 cm dia
National Museum, Karachi



This collection of gold and agate ornaments includes objects found at both Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. At the top are fillets of hammered gold that would have been worn around the forehead.

The other ornaments include bangles, chokers, long pendant necklaces, rings, earrings, conical hair ornaments, and broaches. Such ornaments were never buried with the dead, but were passed on from one generation to the next. These ornaments were hidden under the floors in the homes of wealthy merchants or goldsmiths.



Ancient Indus Jewellery

Fired steatite was an important material used in many different types of Indus jewelry. Steatite beads are found in all four necklaces in the center of this collection of jewelry from Harappa and Mohenjo-daro.

Ornaments including headbands, earrings, necklaces, pendants and bangles were made of various semiprecious stones, steatite, faience, shell, terracotta, copper and sometimes gold, showing technological sophistication in pyrotechnology and in metalworking. According to Professor J. M. Kenoyer, ornaments may have been visible symbols of status or rank indicated in part by the material used.



Necklace or Belt, Mohenjo-daro

Carnelian and copper/bronze necklace or belt. With 42 long bicone carnelian beads, 72 spherical bronze beads, 6 bronze spacer beads, 2 half moon shaped bronze terminals, 2 hollow cylindrical bronze terminals.

Material: carnelian, bronze
Dimensions: carnelian beads range from 8.22 cm to 12.4 cm length, 0.9 cm max dia.;
bronze beads c. .86 cm length, .85 cm dia.;
bronze spacer beads 0.2 cm length, 0.63 cm width, 6.2 cm height;
bronze moon shaped terminal 3.9 cm length, 0.8 cm thickness, 6.1 cm height;
bronze hollow terminal, 2.39 cm length, 1.0 cm max dia.
Mohenjo-daro Museum



Necklace from Mohenjo-daro made from gold, agate, jasper, steatite and green stone (lizardite or grossular garnet). The gold beads are hollow and the pendant agate and jasper beads are attached with thick gold wire. Steatite beads with gold caps serve to separate each of the pendant beads. This necklace fragment is only half of the original ornament which was divided between India and Pakistan in 1947.

Material: gold, green stone (lizardite or grossular garnet, originally reported as jade) Dimensions: green stone beads: 2.0 cm length, 1.0 cm dia., gold beads 0.44 cm length, 1.0 cm dia.
Mohenjo-daro Museum


Faience Ornaments

A collection of faience ornaments from Harappa. The Harappans developed a very compact glassy faience that was produced in a variety of colors, ranging from white, to blue green, deep blue and even red-brown. On the left is a disc shaped ornament of blue green faience. Parallel ribbing of light blue green alternates with white paste in the bottom of each groove. This unique ornament may have been sewn onto cloth or inlaid onto a metal ornament. At the top center is a bead made of red-brown and white faience. This bead is possibly an imitation of the bleached carnelian eye beads. The fragments on the lower right are banded with dark blue and come from small jars, possibly used to hold perfume or medicines.


Steatite Beads


These tiny steatite beads were found in the Harappan cemetery and come from an elaborate hair ornament worn by a male individual. Each bead is less than .01 cm long and less than .01 cm diameter. A human hair is shown to give an idea of the minute size of these beads.

Harappa Museum, H87-664




Harappa Phase Banded Beads

Banded sandstone beads and (bottom row) imitation stone beads made of different colors of clay.


Terra Cotta Beads

Many different styles of terra cotta beads were made during the during the Ravi Phase at Harappa (circa 3300 BC -2800 BC).


Steatite Beads

Steatite beads from the Early Harappan Periods at Harappa.


Faience Beads

Faience beads of different shapes and colors were found in the bead pot . Some of these appear to be imitations of the natural stones; deep azure blue lapis lazuli, blue-green turquoise and banded to imitate banded agate. The red-brown glass bead is in the center.


Pot with Beads

The small Late Harappan Period Pot yielded 133 beads and other decorative objects. Although left behind by a bead collector at almost 1700 BC, the wide variety of beads and other objects found inside the pot belong to all periods of Harappan occupation. In addition to carnelian and faience beads, which are the most numerous, the vessel contained a red-brown glass bead, the first of its kind from the subcontinent.

Long carnelian beads, sometimes more than 12 centimeters long, were a specialty of the Indus Civilization. These beads have been found as far away as the Arabian Gulf and Mesopotamia. Collections of beads were sometimes stored in small pots. One such collection of beads and other objects from several periods was found in a small pot inside a room at Harappa dating to circa 1800 B.C.This collection may represent the effort of someone to collect beads that had been lost in earlier periods or passed down by previous generations.


Stone Beads


The beads in the top three rows of from the bead pot were drilled with tapering holes, possibly with tubular drill or tapered cylindrical drill. The green beads are amazonite, banded agate, jasper. The rest are carnelian. The beads in the bottom two rows were drilled with tubular drills. The black and white banded agate was shaped to make eye beads.




Different types of Beads

The ancient Harappans went to great efforts to obtain exotic colored stones for making beads of different shapes and sizes.



Red-Brown Glass Bead


This is perhaps the earliest glass in the subcontinent, dating at least to 1700 BC



Ravi Phase beads

These beads from the Ravi Phase (3300-2800 BC) at Harappa have been made from carnelian and amazonite (right hand bead). The raw material used to make these beads was brought to the site from source areas probably in Gujarat, over 900 km to the southeast.


Two Gold Beads (from Harappa)

These two gold beads were originally part of the same ornament. Thin gold foil was placed over the outside of a sandy core around a copper tube.


Gold Bead Collection (from Harappa)

A collection of gold beads, three of which (Upper Left, Upper Right, Lower Left) have copper-alloy in their interiors. The corroding copper often breaks the softer gold foil.


Gold Disc

Fired steatite beads appear to have been extremely important to the Indus people because they were incorporated into exquisite ornaments, such as this "eye bead" made of gold with steatite inlay found in 1995 at Harappa

Gold Button (from Harappa)

A button or sequin made of thin gold foil with a small interior loop for attachment to clothing. This piece was found crumpled into a small wad, possibly in preparation for remelting to make a new ornament.


Tubular Drill Hole

Tubular drill hole in an unfinished bead found from the bead pot at Harappa. This unfinished bead with a tubular drilled hole suggests that bead workshops were still producing ornaments at Harappa during the Late Harappan Period, circa 1700 BC. The color of the carnelian suggests that it is not from Gujarat and the modified technology of tubular drilling indicates that the "Ernestite" stone drills of the Harappan Period were no longer reaching the site. The raw material used to make these drills has not been located.


Carnelian Beads with White Lines

This carnelian bead has been artificially colored with white lines and circles using a special bleaching technique developed by the ancient Harappans.

Black and White Spiral Faience Bead


Unique Cylindrical Object

Unique cylindrical object made of maroon and white faience. Numerous examples of this identical type of bead have been found in other parts of Harappa, but this may have been where they were actually made.

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