Showing posts with label Seals of the Indus Valley.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seals of the Indus Valley.. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Are The Seals Of The Indus Valley?


Small square or rectangular-shaped slabs of soapstone, considered to have been official seals for merchants and other persons, are the most perplexing items from the Indus Valley civilization.

More than two thousand of these seals, which typically combine a graphic picture with an inscription, have been discovered by archaeologists.

The majority of the seal pictures depict normal household animals, mainly the bull, although a few depict mythological species like unicorns or even stranger human beings.

One well-known example of the latter depicts a human person strangling a tiger with each hand, maybe a fabled hero.

A horned guy appears in two different poses, one standing in front of a table and the other seated in a yoga-like stance.

He is often recognized as an early version of the god Shiva and offered as proof that Shiva's religion originated in the towns of the Indus Valley.

Much less is known about the seal inscriptions since the writing system for these inscriptions has never been decoded, despite several ideas.

One of the reasons for the dispute is a difference of opinion on the Indus Valley culture.

Those who think that the Indus Valley civilization existed before the Aryans arrived and was separate from them search for proof in the Dravidian language family, which is linguistically distinct from the Indo-Aryan language family.

Those who believe in the Indigenous Aryan theory, which links the Indus Valley civilization to that of the Aryans, look for proof in the Vedas, the oldest Sanskrit literature.

None of these explanations have been proven conclusive, and the inscriptions themselves add to the difficulties of understanding this writing.

Linguists have discovered 419 distinct symbols, which seems to be too numerous for the script to be alphabetical yet too few for each sign to stand for a single word, as in Chinese.

Because of the modest size of the seals, the inscriptions are usually quite brief.

Because the text is so short, it is difficult to grasp because it lacks the contextual patterns that a lengthier text would provide.

Linguists are working with a succession of brief and unconnected textual pieces in order to decipher these inscriptions.

The writing could most likely be read conclusively if a bilingual inscription was discovered, but in the absence of such a key, the issues may prove intractable.

F. Raymond Allchin's The Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia was published in 1995, while Romila Thapar's Interpreting Early India was published in 1992.

See David Frawley's The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India (1994) and Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization (1997) for the Indigenous Aryan perspective.


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