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“Dancing Girl”— A Fascinating Piece of Art from Mohenjo-Daro


This RAVA Documentary production delves deep into the fascinating story behind the “Dancing Girl,” a bronze sculpture discovered in Mohenjo-Daro, a thriving city of the ancient Indus Valley civilization situated in present-day Pakistan. This breathtaking artwork, which is over 4,000 years, is believed to have originated between 2500 and 1500 BCE.

The six-inch tall bronze statue portrays a young girl in a pose that indicates she is dancing or performing some sort of ritual. She is nude except for a series ornaments, such as bangles and a necklace, and her hair is tied up in a bun.

Dancing Girl: “The Most Fascinating Piece of Art”

Currently housed in the National Museum in New Delhi, India, “The Dancing Girl” is considered one of the most iconic artifacts of the Indus Valley civilization. Archaeologists regard the iconic statue as “the most fascinating piece of art from an Indus site.”

The discovery of the statue in 1926 in Mohenjo-Daro was a significant archaeological find, as it provided insight into the artistic and cultural practices of the Indus Valley civilization. The civilization was one of the earliest complex societies in the world, and it developed many sophisticated technologies and cultural practices.

A Ritualistic Symbol

Although the statue is commonly referred to as the “Dancing Girl,” whether she is actually dancing or engaged in some sort of ritualistic activity is still a subject of debate, with some experts suggesting that she may be a priestess or a performer in a religious ceremony.

The ownership of the Dancing Girl has drawn huge controversy and debate for ages, especially in the last few years. Although the statue was discovered in Pakistan, it was excavated during the British colonial period, and as such, it was taken to Britain and ultimately ended up in the collection of the British Museum.

Ownership Row

Pakistan has made claims to the statue and other artifacts from the Indus Valley civilization, arguing that they should be returned to their country of origin.   The Pakistani government has stated that the statue is a significant cultural artifact that should be repatriated and displayed in a museum in Pakistan.

Nevertheless, the British Museum has dubbed it an important part of its collection as it says it has acquired the statue through legal means. The museum has also contended that it is better equipped to care for and display the statue, given its expertise and resources in the preservation of cultural heritage.

More recently, the Indians have also claimed ownership of the statue, saying they acquired it before the 1947 Partition of the subcontinent. Pakistani officials, however, contend that the artifact was excavated from the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro, which lies in Sindh, and, as such, it must be returned to the place of its origin.

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