Domestication of elephant

John C. Huntington huntington.2 at OSU.EDU
Tue Dec 27 17:03:31 UTC 2005

Dear Valerie and list members,

The elephant was already a complex part of Harappan iconography by  
the time of the main seal tradition, It occurs both alone and as part  
of a composite bovid

(left side of the third line down, double click image)

strongly suggesting a very detailed knowledge of the elephant.  
Further at least one of the seals I have photographs of has a cloth  
across its back.

(sorry about the small image! This was a very early posting mid 90's  
and we need to update it)

Three others have a rope around the torso just behind the front legs  
presumably for the safety of a rider. Accordingly, I would have to  
suggest that the direct evidence is for full domestication.

In spite of Yaroslav's comment, I do not have any pictures of  
Harappan elephant seals with the elephant at a "manger" or a "feeding  

it May be of interest to know that elephants were domesticated in  
early China as well and that their bones appear in Shang tombs (these  
were native elephants which have long since died out or been killed off)



John C. Huntington, Professor
(Buddhist Art and Methodologies)
Department of the History of Art
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH, U.S.A.

On Dec 27, 2005, at 7:12 AM, Ярослав Васильков wrote:

Harappan representations of elephants with a "feeding trough" in front
of the animal's trunk can not be seen as an evidence for domestication
because the trough is usually represented in the same way in front of
tigers, rhynoceroses and other wild animals.

Yaroslav Vassilkov

-----Original Message-----
From: Valerie J Roebuck <vjroebuck at MACUNLIMITED.NET>

> A friend has asked me the following question: when was the elephant
> first domesticated in India?  I was sure that someone on this list
> must know something...
> Valerie J Roebuck
> Manchester, UK

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