Explore the early development of Indian art, from the artefacts of the Indus Valley to the Hindu and Buddhist sculpture of north India and Gandhara.
Terracotta was widely used in early India to make animal and human figurines, as well as vessels, toys or bangles. The simplest hand-modelled female figurines, with split-pellet eyes and appliqué ornaments, may represent mother goddesses. More refined in form are the moulded plaques depicting female figures adorned with elaborate headdresses and jewellery. The most famous example of all is the Ashmolean’s plaque discovered at Tamluk (EAX.201). Figures of this type may represent goddesses or yakshis, female nature spirits. They have been found across north India, in bronze and ivory as well as terracotta. Figures of yakshas or male nature spirits are also often found.
Objects may be temporarily removed from a gallery or have been replaced. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a weekly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.