56. An Important Fragment of a Terracotta Ritual Vessel

Mehrgarh, Indus Valley,
early 3rd millennium BC
Size: 36 cm high, 30 cm base diameter

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The stand has polychrome decoration typical of the finest ceramic production of Mehrgarh. More extraordinary are the three roaring lions in relief, with shaggy manes and swishing tails. The profiles of such vessels are recorded in numerous fragments, none so far intact, and must have served either as offering stands, as depicted on many seals, or for other-worldly drinking, since in this world a beaker works better. None of the other fragments, in the published literature, has lions in relief.