patterns with Baluchistan, it developed a somewhat stolid character of its
own. The majority of the pottery is plain, but a substantial part is treated with
a red slip, and black-painted decoration. Polychrome pottery is rare. Natural
motifs such as birds, fish, animals, plants, trees and pipal leaves, however,
are not infrequent.
    Comparatively few examples of ivory carving have been found. They
include combs, carved cylinders, small sticks and pins.
    Working on, and inlaying shells was another well developed craft in the
Indus cultures. Extensive craft centres for the manufacture of shell objects are
known from Chanhudaro, Lothal and Balakot.
    Beads were manufactured from a wide variety of semi-precious stones
brought to the Indus valley from different regions. Bead makers’ shops, along
with their equipment were discovered in Chanhudaro and Lothal.
    An important semi-precious stone utilized for bead making was carnelian.
Long barrel beads of this material rank among the technical achievements of
the Harappans. Beads may well have been among the items of export to
    The seals were made of steatite and cut to shape with a saw. Steatite was
used for a wide variety of other objects, such as beads, bracelets, buttons,
vessels, and the like.
Trade and Commerce
Inter-regional trade was carried on with Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Maharashtra,
south India, parts of western Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Foreign trade was
conducted mainly with Mesopotamia or Sumeria (modern Iraq) and Bahrain.
    Main imports consisted of precious metals like gold (from Afghanistan,
Persia and south India), copper (Rajasthan, Baluchistan and Arabia) and tin
(from Afghanistan and Bihar) and several semi-precious stones like lapis
lazuli (Afghanistan), turquoise (Persia), amethyst (Maharashtra), agate
(Saurashtra), jade (Central Asia) and conch-shells (Saurashtra and Deccan).
    Main exports were several agricultural products such as wheat, barley,
peas, oil seeds, and a variety of finished products such as cotton goods,
pottery, carnelian beads, shell and bone inlays, terracotta statues, ivory
products, and the like.