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Steatite seals from the Indus Valley
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Seals are characteristic of a phase of the Indus civilization when the first towns were developing in the region (around 2500-1900 вс). They come in a variety of forms, the most typical being a square stamp-seal with a perforated knob on the back and a carved design on the front. The most common design is the unicorn, but there are also script-only designs, geometric designs, a few narrative scenes and a wide variety of other animals.

It is not clear how the seals were used, although they were probably associated with trade, as they and their impressions have been found abroad. The inscriptions on the seals are the oldest writing in South Asia. Because there are no bilingual texts and no records longer than 21 characters, Indus writing remains undeciphered and the language uncertain. The seals are useful, however, in reconstructing the economy, art and religion of the region at that time.

Steatite seals from the Indus Valley

From Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, modern Pakistan, c. 2600-1900 вс Diam. c. 3 cm
Gift of the Director-General of Archaeology, India

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