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Dancing Girl

Keywords: Bronze Sculpture,
The Dancing Girl,
Mohenjodaro,
Indus Valley Civilization,
Harappan Civilization

Publisher: National Museum, New Delhi

Description: This mesmerizing sculpture, famously known as 'The Dancing Girl,' is one of the highest achievements of the artists of Mohenjodaro. The 'Dancing Girl' is a sculpture made of bronze. It belongs to the Indus Valley Civilization and dates back to circa 2500 BCE. It is 10.5 cm in height, 5 cm in width and 2.5 cm in depth. Presently, it is on display in the Indus Valley Civilization gallery in the National Museum, New Delhi.

Historical Significance :- The geographical location of the excavation site of Harappan Civilisation was chanced upon many times, even minor excavation projects were carried out by archaeology-enthusiasts on their own accord but any artefacts recovered were discarded as historically irrelevant or belonging to a much later time period. It was only in the 1920s when Daya Ram Sahni and R.D. Banerji began excavating in modern-day Harappa and Mohenjodaro did the real importance of site come to be unearthed. The formal announcement of the discovery of the Indus or Harappan civilization was made in 1924 by John Marshall, the then Director-General of the Archeological Survey. All the sculptures found thus far associated with the Indus Valley Civilization are small ( the largest is only about 40 cms high). Interestingly, there is a considerable variety in the types of stone used suggesting that the materials used were selected because of their intrinsic beauty and not because they were widely and locally available.

Artistic Significance :- This small but unique statue gives us an idea of the skill of the artisans of that time. The statue is of a thin young woman standing with her right hand on the back of her hip and the left hand resting on her left thigh. Her features are prominent with large eyes, curly hair and a flat nose. She appears to be naked and is wearing only a necklace alongside some bangles. Her hair is plaited on the back and neatly tied in a bun. Her arms are unnaturally long which is a common feature of the artefacts of this time. Her head is tilted slightly backwards. An interesting fact to notice is that the number of bangles in her hands differ. She has 24 bangles in one hand and 4 in the other. There is no evidence that she is dancing and she may not even represent a female dance but due to her pose in the sculpture, she was named as the Dancing Girl. The sculpture was made using the 'Lost Wax' method where the artist makes a wax model after which a mould is created from this model. This wax model is then covered with a clay coating, leaving some holes as passageways. When the clay-covered moulds are heated in the ovens, the wax melts out. When the mould has cooled, the outer clay envelope is chipped off and the craftsperson can then put the finishing touches to the solid bronze statue.

Style :- Indus Valley Civilization

Source: National Museum, New Delhi

Type: Sculpture

Received From: National Museum, New Delhi


DC Field Value
dc.coverage.spatial Mohenjodaro, Sindh, Pakistan.
dc.coverage.temporal Ancient
dc.description This mesmerizing sculpture, famously known as 'The Dancing Girl,' is one of the highest achievements of the artists of Mohenjodaro. The 'Dancing Girl' is a sculpture made of bronze. It belongs to the Indus Valley Civilization and dates back to circa 2500 BCE. It is 10.5 cm in height, 5 cm in width and 2.5 cm in depth. Presently, it is on display in the Indus Valley Civilization gallery in the National Museum, New Delhi.

Historical Significance :- The geographical location of the excavation site of Harappan Civilisation was chanced upon many times, even minor excavation projects were carried out by archaeology-enthusiasts on their own accord but any artefacts recovered were discarded as historically irrelevant or belonging to a much later time period. It was only in the 1920s when Daya Ram Sahni and R.D. Banerji began excavating in modern-day Harappa and Mohenjodaro did the real importance of site come to be unearthed. The formal announcement of the discovery of the Indus or Harappan civilization was made in 1924 by John Marshall, the then Director-General of the Archeological Survey. All the sculptures found thus far associated with the Indus Valley Civilization are small ( the largest is only about 40 cms high). Interestingly, there is a considerable variety in the types of stone used suggesting that the materials used were selected because of their intrinsic beauty and not because they were widely and locally available.

Artistic Significance :- This small but unique statue gives us an idea of the skill of the artisans of that time. The statue is of a thin young woman standing with her right hand on the back of her hip and the left hand resting on her left thigh. Her features are prominent with large eyes, curly hair and a flat nose. She appears to be naked and is wearing only a necklace alongside some bangles. Her hair is plaited on the back and neatly tied in a bun. Her arms are unnaturally long which is a common feature of the artefacts of this time. Her head is tilted slightly backwards. An interesting fact to notice is that the number of bangles in her hands differ. She has 24 bangles in one hand and 4 in the other. There is no evidence that she is dancing and she may not even represent a female dance but due to her pose in the sculpture, she was named as the Dancing Girl. The sculpture was made using the 'Lost Wax' method where the artist makes a wax model after which a mould is created from this model. This wax model is then covered with a clay coating, leaving some holes as passageways. When the clay-covered moulds are heated in the ovens, the wax melts out. When the mould has cooled, the outer clay envelope is chipped off and the craftsperson can then put the finishing touches to the solid bronze statue.

Style :- Indus Valley Civilization
dc.source National Museum, New Delhi
dc.format.extent H 10.5 x W 5 x D 2.5 cm
dc.format.mimetype image/jpg
dc.publisher National Museum, New Delhi
dc.subject Bronze Sculpture,
The Dancing Girl,
Mohenjodaro,
Indus Valley Civilization,
Harappan Civilization
dc.type Sculpture
dc.format.medium image
dc.format.material Bronze


DC Field Value
dc.coverage.spatial Mohenjodaro, Sindh, Pakistan.
dc.coverage.temporal Ancient
dc.description This mesmerizing sculpture, famously known as 'The Dancing Girl,' is one of the highest achievements of the artists of Mohenjodaro. The 'Dancing Girl' is a sculpture made of bronze. It belongs to the Indus Valley Civilization and dates back to circa 2500 BCE. It is 10.5 cm in height, 5 cm in width and 2.5 cm in depth. Presently, it is on display in the Indus Valley Civilization gallery in the National Museum, New Delhi.

Historical Significance :- The geographical location of the excavation site of Harappan Civilisation was chanced upon many times, even minor excavation projects were carried out by archaeology-enthusiasts on their own accord but any artefacts recovered were discarded as historically irrelevant or belonging to a much later time period. It was only in the 1920s when Daya Ram Sahni and R.D. Banerji began excavating in modern-day Harappa and Mohenjodaro did the real importance of site come to be unearthed. The formal announcement of the discovery of the Indus or Harappan civilization was made in 1924 by John Marshall, the then Director-General of the Archeological Survey. All the sculptures found thus far associated with the Indus Valley Civilization are small ( the largest is only about 40 cms high). Interestingly, there is a considerable variety in the types of stone used suggesting that the materials used were selected because of their intrinsic beauty and not because they were widely and locally available.

Artistic Significance :- This small but unique statue gives us an idea of the skill of the artisans of that time. The statue is of a thin young woman standing with her right hand on the back of her hip and the left hand resting on her left thigh. Her features are prominent with large eyes, curly hair and a flat nose. She appears to be naked and is wearing only a necklace alongside some bangles. Her hair is plaited on the back and neatly tied in a bun. Her arms are unnaturally long which is a common feature of the artefacts of this time. Her head is tilted slightly backwards. An interesting fact to notice is that the number of bangles in her hands differ. She has 24 bangles in one hand and 4 in the other. There is no evidence that she is dancing and she may not even represent a female dance but due to her pose in the sculpture, she was named as the Dancing Girl. The sculpture was made using the 'Lost Wax' method where the artist makes a wax model after which a mould is created from this model. This wax model is then covered with a clay coating, leaving some holes as passageways. When the clay-covered moulds are heated in the ovens, the wax melts out. When the mould has cooled, the outer clay envelope is chipped off and the craftsperson can then put the finishing touches to the solid bronze statue.

Style :- Indus Valley Civilization
dc.source National Museum, New Delhi
dc.format.extent H 10.5 x W 5 x D 2.5 cm
dc.format.mimetype image/jpg
dc.publisher National Museum, New Delhi
dc.subject Bronze Sculpture,
The Dancing Girl,
Mohenjodaro,
Indus Valley Civilization,
Harappan Civilization
dc.type Sculpture
dc.format.medium image
dc.format.material Bronze