Harappan animal icons/inscriptions

Ferenc Ruzsa f_ruzsa at ISIS.ELTE.HU
Mon Aug 7 23:43:08 UTC 2000

Steve Farmer writes:

>In light of what we've already found, Ferenc, does *any* evidence
>remain of "different animals/same inscription" on separate seals?

I do not know - as we found, Mahadevan's identifications of the depicted
creatures can sometimes be misleading. But I have no other material - so here
is what I found there (just a sample, there may be others): four different
texts, always on seals (the last one on seal impression), each appearing with
the "unicorn", but also with some other animal as well.

(Mahadevan)     (animal)  (Original publication)
4033 (unicorn) EH (Vats 1940) vol II. pl. LXXXV-CI 33.
4128 (unicorn) EH vol II. pl. LXXXV-CI 128.
1339 (humped bull) MIC (Marshall 1931) vol III. pl. CIII-CXV 339.
2346 (no animal) FEM (Mackay 1937-38) vol II. pl. LXXXII-XCIX 346.
4133 (unicorn)  EH vol II. pl. LXXXV-CI 133.
1542 (bison) MIC vol III. pl. CIII-CXV 542.
1388 (unicorn) MIC vol III. pl. CIII-CXV 388.
2280 (humped bull) FEM vol II. pl. LXXXII-XCIX 280.
2444 (unicorn) FEM vol II. pl. LXXXII-XCIX 444.
2864 2.1/2.36.01 (gharial - on both sides) FEM vol II. pl. CII 10.

(Steve, have you overlooked it ? I have actually sent you this off-list, on

>do you think that the number of
>duplicates of inscriptions on the "bossed" seals argue against the
>personal name thesis, as I conjectured?

I do not have the relevant statistics yet - just a strong visual impression,
and of course that can be pretty much misleading. I think that the
overwhelming majority of the texts appear only once; BUT if you have a
duplicate, chances are high that you find a third one - even as many as
twenty. But it seems that the really long series are from tablets: copper in
Mohenjo-daro, stone, terracotta or faience in Harappa.
Perhaps someone else knows more about it? The data do seem interesting and

Ferenc Ruzsa

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list