Terracotta human figurines have been unearthed during excavations, and been discovered as stray surface finds during explorations, at a number of sites dotting the archaeological map of undivided north India. Both the geographical distribution, spreading from Baluchistan to Bihar, and chronological depth and continuity from the 6th millennium BCE onward up to the early historic period, pose a challenge and beg a rigorous scrutiny and analysis that has eluded them so far. After pottery, terracotta figurines form perhaps the most sizeable part of an archaeological corpus. Yet, their studies have been subsumed under sweeping generalizations, and very seldom have stylistic delineations or manufacturing technique surveys come their way. The medium and the form i.e. baked clay and anthropomorphic representations give them an evocative human appeal that is loaded with meaning. This presentation will try to showcase the richness of the terracotta figurines and argue for broader and more inclusive frameworks of interpretation that are in sync with the evidence at hand.
Deeksha Bhardwaj is Associate Professor in the Department of History, Gargi College affiliated to the University of Delhi. Her area of specialization is archaeology and ancient Indian history. In her almost two decades of teaching experience, she has taught a wide range of papers on Indian and world history. She has presented papers at national and international conferences, and participated in the excavation of the early historic site of Kadebakele in Karnataka. Her publications include articles in the Timechart History of India, Archaeology as History, edited by H.P. Ray and C. Sinopoli, and chapters in the Study Material of School of Open Learning (SOL), Institute of Life Long Learning (ILLL) and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Looking forward to having you with us this evening.