46. An Important Pair of Early Silver Male and Female Figurines

Mehrgarh, Indus Valley, 5th millennium BC
Size: 7 cm and 6.5 cm high

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If the non-conformist Anglican archbishop James Ussher (d. 1658) was correct in his calculation that the first day of the Creation took place on 23rd October 4004 BC, we could have before us the only known contemporary portraits of Adam and Eve. The dates more or less coincide. And since the figurines were found at Mehrgarh, it would also finally resolve the issue of where exactly the Garden of Eden was located – the Indus Valley. The fact that the two figures are shown naked suggests that they were made before Eve ate the apple and they got expelled, but that raises the difficult question of who was there to make the figurines?

Adam and Eve or not, they are very rare and early representations of a human couple. The Indus Valley was connected by trade to Mesopotamia, Iran and Central Asia since earliest times, and the round eyes of these figures provide a clue to their antiquity, conforming to a type engraved on figurines from Susa and elsewhere in the 4th millennium and earlier. Only in the 3rd millennium did eyes become almond-shaped. Another interesting feature of the male figure is that he is wearing a belt, typical of the hero-figures and warriors of early history. It was the standard accessory from Mesopotamia to Bactria, necessary especially when naked to carry a sword (see the figures on the goblet no. 71). The perforations suggest that these figurines were sewn onto textile or leather, while the piercings at the top of the heads must have been made for their use as pendants, perhaps later when Cain and Abel were going through their hippie phase.