Research Paper


Differentmuseums comprise of different artistic works such as sculptures andpaintings, which tend to have a certain meaning associated with them,depending on their intended purpose. This is because the artist thatcomes up with a given sculpture or painting always has a purpose forthe artwork. In this assignment, the Priest-King of Mohenjo-Daro willbe discussed. The reason for choosing this object is because, once Iresearched the object from the National Museum, I found out that itwas founded in the Indus River Valley. I have a great interest inknowing the artworks founded from this place because they help inunderstanding some bit of history of the place. I had earlier had ofthis artwork with a friend who had visited the museum therefore,when doing research I came across this artwork, I chose it so as tohave a rich history of it and the place, where it was founded.Besides, I had done an earlier work by the same artist so, when Icame across this artwork and discovered that it had the same artist,I chose to do research on it in order to understand it too.

Descriptionof the Object

Theobject became founded in the Indus River Valley and has a height of17.5 centimetres and a width of 11 centimeters. The object is a robedmale having half-closed eyes, a closely trimmed beard having shavedupper lip and a low forehead.1The man is shown wearing a headband having a central circular emblem,which matches with a similar armband. Besides, the object has holeson each side of the neck. Trefoils decorate the robe that the man hason his body. In addition, the object does not show the image of awhole man, but just a portrait without part of the arms and the lowerpart of the body. The figure below represents the object

Theobject tends to have some religious meaning. The object depicts a manwearing a robe that is covered with trefoils. This garment isprobably a representation of some fine material that are usually sewnwith appliqués. This is of great significance to the Harappanreligious iconography. Comparing the garment with the Central asiaand Mesopotamian art, the association of the trefoil at the objectwith the red color associates it with fire and hearth, which canlater be considered to represent the yoni (womb or vulva). This isthen a representation of rebirth in the heavenly sphere. 2Toadd to this religious significance of the object, the robe that iscurrently worn by priests may indicate a symbol that the objectreprent a generation of priest that existed at the time of IndusCivilization, while failure of showing the completeness of the objectby showing its remnants is an indication that the people that theobject represents had lost favor. Thus, in personal view, I think theobject is an indication that the past generation of priests in theIndus River Valley had lost favor and new generation of priestsushered in during the period of Indus civilization.

Theobject can also be thought to have a significant relation to society.The object had a headband having a central circular emblem. Theemblem could be taken to imply an important symbol of national unity.This is because an emblem can be considered to be an element that theIndus society identified with. Besides, holes on every side of theobject’s neck could suggest that the object previously had anecklace of precious metal.3This can be taken to imply that the society from which the object wasfound had social classes and the object represented an upper class.Furthermore, the wearing of robes could be related with somesocieties, where kings or priests wear robes. The wearing of robescould imply that the object represented a religious leader or apolitical leader, which is critical in concluding that the societywas well organized because it had political and religiousorganizations. This is evident because the objdect could haverepresented the leaders of these organizations. The presence ofpolitical and religious organization is an indication that thesociety was stratified. In personal point of view, the object couldhave been taken to represent the elites in the society this can beattributed to the costume and precious materials that were used inmaking the object. This could be an indication that the society haddifferent classes.

Onthe other hand, the object had a lot of significance to the historyof the Indus River. This is because the object can be used as avaluable source that can be utilized in studying history since itreveals crucial information concerning the running of the Indus Rivercivilizations. The use of the trefoil depicts a sacred context, whichis an indication that the Indus civilization had a religion.4Besides,the symbols on the object is a clear indication that a form ofgovernment was in existence. Such information can be used to deducecrucial information concerning the Indus civilization. For instance,it can be deduced that priests may have been in the forefront ofrunning the civilizations. In addition, the object could be usedhistorically to remember an event that occurred in the Indus RiverValley. In personal viewpoint, I think the object could be used toremember a certain priest or king that took part in the Induscivilization.

Thecontext in which this work became made depicts that there was a needof expressing the religious foundations during the time. From thedifferent religious materials that the object is associated with, itis apparent that the object had a significant meaning to the religionorganization during the period. Since the image was found during thetime of Indus civilization, it is clear that it represented the wayindividuals considered and respected religion prior to Induscivilization. The materials that the man presented through objectwore such as the trefoil and sign of having a necklace may providesufficient evidence to indicate that the man represented by theobject was probably in a prayerful mood. 5Thiscan even be supported by the eyes of the man, which are not open. Theobject may represent a religious leader or man of authority showingrespect to the religion organization of the time. During the timethat this work was discovered during Indus civilization, theartistic climate was at its climax since craft and career specialistswere dedicated to showing their artistic skills. During the time,different artists were expressing their ideas through artwork. Thus,relation of history ideas in religion could be one of the aspectsthat this objected represented.


Althoughthis object can be speculated to have some connection with the Induscivilization history, assumptions can only be made to connect to thishistory. This is because there are no writings on the object that canconnect to a particular element of the Indus civilization history.However, the materials and costume used in making the object can helpin making predictions regarding the history of the Induscivilization. For instance, through the robes and trefoil on theobject, it is possible to associate the materials with some religioussignificance, thus connecting religion with the Indus civilization.Although it is not clear what part religion played in the history ofIndus civilization, there seems to be a relevant history connectingthe Indus civilization. For instance, it may be assumed that priestsheld significant positions in the running of the Indus civilization.On the other hand, the existence of religion through the object’sfeatures can also give a good assumption that there was a form ofgovernment. In addition, the object may also be assumed to representan event that occurred that relates to the history of Induscivilization.


Gardner,Helen, and Fred S. Kleiner.&nbspGardner`sArt Through the Ages: Non-Western Perspectives.Boston: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2010.

McIntosh,Jane.&nbspTheAncient Indus Valley: New Perspectives.Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2008.

Mellor,Ronald, and Amanda H. Podany.&nbspTheWorld in Ancient Times.New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Possehl,Gregory L.&nbspTheIndus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective.Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2002.

1 McIntosh, Jane.&nbspThe Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2008. Pp 280.

2 McIntosh, Jane.&nbspThe Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2008. Pp 281.

3 Mellor, Ronald, and Amanda H. Podany.&nbspThe World in Ancient Times. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Pp 62.

4 Gardner, Helen, and Fred S. Kleiner.&nbspGardner`s Art Through the Ages: Non-Western Perspectives. Boston: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2010. Pp 11.

5 Possehl, Gregory L.&nbspThe Indus Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2002. Pp 103.