Besides sculptures and terracottas, the Archaeological Section
of Bharat Kala Bhavan has a rich collection of some other antiquarian
remains viz., pre-historic stone and copper tools, ancient potteries
and pot-sherds, clay seals and sealings, ancient beads both in stone
and clay and copper-plate inscriptions.
The Archaeological Section possesses nearly two hundred thirty
five stone tools related to Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic
cultures. These are mostly acquired through periodic explorations
from the pre- historic sites. These tools include hand axes, scrappers,
cleavers, chopper, core and flake tools. The rnicroliths include
rnicroblades, blades, side scrapper, knife, borer, awl, burin, etc.
The metal tools of Chalcolithic period are only in small quantity
in this collection. There are seven copper celts, six out of which
were acquired from the Itawa village in the district of Varanasi.
The collection also includes broken arrow-head from Kausambi, one
celt, one harpoon and two anthropomorphic figures from Bisauli in
the district of Badaun (displayed in the gallery).
The clay pootery culture is said to have begun from the Neolithic
period. The systematic productio\n of clay potteries was initiated
in India from the Chalcolithic phase with particular reference to
Harappan culture in India. Most of the potteries in this period
were wheel made. The use of welllevigated clay in uniform firing
was the characteristic of these potteries. The period witnessed
the production of black and red potteries (displayed) and red ware
occasionally painted in black and white pigments. Such potteries
hail from Harappan sites viz., Shar (Rajasthan), Navdatoli and Inamgaon
(Maharashtra). The designs on these potteries evince human and animal
motifs, plant motifs and geometric motifs. The Iron Age culture
witnessed the introduction of Painted Grey Wares. The Museum has
a large collection of this variety mostly from northern India and
are on display in the gallery. The painting on these wares done
in black pigment and the designs include dots, geometrical patterns,
wavy lines and zigzag lines. The next phase saw the introduction
of Northern Black Polished wares (NBP). The General term N.B.P.
appears somewhat misnomer since other colours such as gold, silver,
steel blue, brown black, gold blue, etc. also appear on such polished
wares. A few specimens of NBP are on display in the gallery .
The section also includes a large collection of beads approximately
12,500. These are found to be made either of clay or of semi precious
stones such as carnelian, garnet, lapislazuli, agate, crystal etc.
The collection has a large number of animal beads fascinating for
their execution and finish. These include elephant, bull, lion,
dog, deer and squirrel. There are also beads showing fish, tortoise,
frog and a few birds of different species. The beads hail mostly
from Kausambi and Rajghat. Some of II these are on display in the
Nidhi gallery .
There are nearly 1700 seals and sealings mostly made of clay. These
hail from different sites in northern India from T axila to Bihar
and depict different Hindu and Buddhist deities along with legends.
Of these, mention may be made of certain sealings with the Saiva
symbols such as Trisula, Parasu, Nandi with legends such as Avimuktesvara,
Pitakesvara, Yogesvara, Bhringesvara, etc. Varanasi sealings include
Garuda, Chakra, Sankha, etc. Sealings showing goddess Durga, Abhiseka
Lakshmi are also there in this collection. Buddhist sealing depict
deities like Buddha, Bodhlsattva (Chmtamamchakra Lokesvara, Maitreya,
Manjusri etc.), goddess Tara, stupas ~ and symbols like wheel flanked
by deer with legends. These were issued by kings, courtiers, traders,
trade guilds, teaching institutions and monasteries.
The Section has a small but historically important copper
plate incriptions. The total number of such , inscribed plates is
eleven. These belong to the mediaeval ~ period and were issued by
the kings of Pala, Gahadvala \ i and Chandela dynasties. These are
in the form of land lgrants. Of these, mention may be made of a
single copper I plate of early Pala king Rajyapala, and the inscription
of Govinda Chandradeva Gahadvala of V .S. 1195 and the inscription
of king Madan Verma of Chandela dynasty dated V .S. 1192. These
inscriptions are mostly written in Sanskrit language but there is
one inscription of Maharajadhiraja Sriraja Baj Bahadur Chandradeva
which is found to be written in Kaithi script.
The art ofterracottas has been of great significance for
reconstruction of cultural history. Due to its malleable nature
and easy availability this medium of expressioning art became extremely
popular throughout the country . The earliest specimens hailed from
the pre-Indus and Indus sites followed by the cult of mother goddesses
which are known as archaic or ageless due to their hoary antiquity
and their subsequent continuity. From the Indus to the Pre Mauryan
period the terracottas were hand modelled with applique ornamental
technique and evinced abundance of female figures. In the Post Indus
terracottas the face of the figure is either animal or bird. These
have been interpreted as mother goodesses probably following the
Vedic traditions of Aditi, Mahimata, Sinivali etc. As the visitor
enters the Gallery to his right he views some fabulous animals and
female figurines with fan shaped head dress and separately fixed
ornaments. The figure with large stomach must have served as rattle.
The second showcase presents the terracottas of the Mauryan period
between 4th and 2nd century B.C. The animal figures also became
popular with applique treatment being continued. One horse and another
elephant bear the stamped or punch marked circles which was a peculiar
characteristic of the age. The black polish on the grey surface
is often noticed. The female bust marks a stage of development when
the head was pressed out of mould and the body remained hand modelled.
The male head bearing smiling expression was recovered probabely
The third showcase is notewonhy for another stage of development
of terracotta an when the entire figure was produced through mould
and sometimes the double mould was also used to shape a figure in
the round. Kausambi in Allahabad district has been the mine of early
Indian terracottas. With the introduction of moulds, the growing
need of society for terracottas was fulfilled. The subject matter
became varied with the inception of new divinities and secular themes.
The visitor sees an interesting toycan illustrating a picnic pany.
The other plaque shows a man with deer followed by the scene representing
the elopment of Vasavadatta by Udayana. Another plaque representing
Lakshmi (goddess of prosperity and abundance) majestically standing
on a high lotus seat under a large umbrella. She is flanked by two
flywhisk bearing attendants who also stand on stalked lotus seats.
The hole on the top of some of these plaques testifies that these
were used as wall hanging in houses or place of worship. The colour
of Sunga terracottas is generally dul red and buff, but in some
regions as at Mathura, tradition of grey coloured terracottas continued.
One of such specimens is on view and it shows a large size mother
goddess with beautiful hairdo decorated with weapon type ornamental
motifs and a number of ornaments .
In the northern India the art of terracottas suffered to some extent
as the attention was focussed on stone which was used for architecture
and sculpture. Thc figures produced in this period (lst-3rd century
A.D.) are rather coarse and crude and look somewhat primitive and
folkish The expression, however, is quite bold. Thc showcase shows
male and female heads, a dwarf probably Yaksha and the head of Siva
with third eye Luckily the Museum houses a few specimens of terracotta
art from Kashmir region and these bear Gandhara impact. A young
roundish male head is followed by an interesting female head with
locks of hair falling on thc temples. The hair is fastened with
the drum shaped bead The figure is coated with green glaze which
is a rare feature.
The Gupta period (4th.6th century Ad.) is known
for the revival of terracotta art and it reflects the same qualitative
importance and refinement as noticed in the beautiful stone sculptures
of the age. Kausambi yielded a good number of terracottas of large
size. In showcase nos 6 and 7, the important figures on view are
male head, female bust, a female deity with halo, elephant with
rider, "' two heads of Siva with third eye, Ganesa, Mahisasurmardini
(Durga strangulating the buffalo demon) and Ardhanarisvara Siva
(half male and half female). Beside Kausambi, some of the terracottas
were recovered from Rajghat (Varanasi), Ahichchhatra (Bareilly).
The next showcase shows two forceful
headless busts from Kausambi -one representing Chamunda with skeleton
and with suspended breasts and Darpana Gauri in which case Parvati
holds mirror in one of her hands. On the floor is seen a storage
jar hailing from Rajghat (Varanasi) belonging to post-Gupta period
c.7th-8th century A.D.
On the adjacent wall the continuity
of terracotta art is marked by a few specimens inside the showcase
depicting Krishna Lila and Mahisasuramardini from Bengal and belonging
to 18th-19th century A.D. Two greyish terracottas from Nepal of
the same period, representing Ganga on crocodile and Visvarupa Vishnu
are also on view.