Mapping National Museum – The Dancing Girl, 2500 BC
A little marvel.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
She is stark naked, except for bangles, rings and a necklace with four pendants.
Sculptured in bronze more than 2,000 years ago, the Dancing Girl was discovered in 1926 in Mohenjodaro, an archaeological site in present-day Pakistan. It is one of the most celebrated exhibits of the National Museum.
The girl is just four inches tall.
Showcased in a glass case, she is standing with her right arm resting on the hip. Her left leg is propelled forward. Her chin is raised slightly upwards. Her eyes are closed. The museum’s catalog is more brazen:
“Large eyes, flat nose, well-fed cheeks, bunched curly hair and broad forehead define the iconography of the lady, while a tall figure with large legs and arms, high neck, subdued belly, moderately sized breasts and sensuously modeled waist-part along vagina, her anatomy.”
British archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler, who served as director general of the Archaeological Survey of India, said of the girl:
“There is her little Balochi-style face with pouting lips and insolent look in the eyes. She’s about fifteen years old I should think, not more, but she stands there with bangles all the way up her arm and nothing else on. A girl, for the moment, perfectly confident of herself and the world. There’s nothing like her, I think, in the world.”
There is nothing like her at least in modern-day Delhi.
Note: The Delhi Walla wrote on the National Museum here, but it is not enough. In the series Mapping National Museum, I intend to survey minutely each room in the museum, observing with you the souvenirs of our past.
Where National Museum, Janpath Time 10 am to 5 pm (Monday closed) Nearest Metro Station Udyog Bhawan
Too free, too liberating