Indus Valley Terracotta Chalice


A finely painted terracotta chalice from the Indus Valley civilisation. The vessel features a cylindrical stem with a concave base which expands into a wide, flared body and rim. The outer walls of the vessel are decorated with geometric designs and are painted with a dark pigment. Different thicknesses of horizontal bands enrich the stem and body. A register of ‘V’ shapes encompasses the upper body. A row of linear lines are visible to the inner rim and further pigment can be seen on the interior. There are some chips on the rim and base of the cup and parts of the paint has faded from age.

Date: Circa 2500-2000 BC
Condition: Fine condition, minor chips to the piece and slight cracks across the body. Earthly encrustation is visible to the surface.


The Indus Valley is a Bronze Age civilization from the Near East, which lasted from 3300 BC to 31 BC. It was one of three early and widespread cradles of civilisation along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It was discovered when engraved seals were found in the Pakistani province of Punjab in 1920-21, first in the ancient city of Harappa and then locations down the Indus River leading to Mohenjo-daro.

Important innovations of the Indus Valley civilisation included standardised weights and measures and seal carving but were also skilled in a range of techniques including metallurgy and pottery production. Most of the pottery can be dated back to the Nal culture, which flourished in the north-west region of the Indus Valley. Their terracotta works are characterised by a linear style, a geometric repetition of shapes and lines. Also, animals and plants, rendered in a stylised manner, featured heavily on their creations. In the end, pigments could be added on the decorations, to create beautiful polychromatic vessels.

Weight 202.8 g
Dimensions W 11.7 x H 9.1 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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