Anthropomorphic votive terracotta container for liquids, Indus Valley, 3000-2500 B.C.

Material:  Terracotta
Conservation:  Good condition
Material:  Terracotta
Dimensions:  18,5 x 9 cm
Provenance:  Private collection, London, 1970 / Archaeological Gallery, Israel, 2014. Export authorization from the Israel Antiquities Authority No. 526915 with date 17/09/2014 / This piece is accompanied by an export certificate from the Spanish Ministry of Culture No. 2020/01818 with date 13/03/2020 and certificate of authenticity.
Exhibited:  Ifergan Collection, Málaga (2018-2020)
Ref m6098 Category

Terracotta bowl made of sinuous shapes that resemble a female form with arms gathered under the chest and an opening in the head that simulates a gathered hairstyle.

Its function could be to contain water for ritual libations or some kind of cereal grain as a food offering. In addition, there are various forms that indicate that they could also have contained incense.

These sculptures are considered to have had a votive function, since a large number of them have been found in sacred deposits, so they are understood to have had an apotropic function. The apotropaic function of these pieces was to protect fertility and motherhood. Without any doubt it would be a key ritual element for fertility.

The Indus Valley culture was a civilization that developed from 3000 B.C. to 1300 B.C. around the Indus River in Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwest India. It covered about a hundred settlements and its two most important cities were Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. By 2400 BC a complex urban civilization had developed, comparable to that of Egypt and Mesopotamia.
In the Greek imagination, India was the end of the world and Alexander the Great’s soldiers were afraid of what they might find there. In fact, their encounter with King Pore’s elephants made a great impression on them.

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