Dr. Bhardwaj’s presentation will try to unfold the history of the production and usage of terracotta images in India from the earliest times to the turn of the 2nd millennium CE. Besides pottery, terracotta items form a sizeable portion of the archaeological assemblage of sites, excavated and explored. Terracotta was moulded in both, utilitarian and non-utilitarian forms, and in its anthropomorphic representation became emblematic for the visual culture of the site it was retrieved from. Covering the ancient past of the subcontinent, and focusing largely on undivided north India, the presentation will indicate patterns of production and usage, and the multiplicity of meanings that can be gleaned, especially in the absence of stratified contexts. The ubiquity of terracottas has perhaps inured us to their various possibilities, and the talk will attempt to showcase just that, even if as an exemplar.
Dr. Bhardwaj is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Gargi College, Delhi University, and has two decades of teaching experience and taught a wide range of papers on Indian and world history. Her area of specialization is archaeology and ancient Indian history. She participated in the excavation of the early historic site of Kadebakele in Karnataka. Her published work includes articles in the Time-chart History of India, Archaeology as History, edited by H.P. Ray and C. Sinopoli, and chapters in the study material for School of Open Learning (SOL), Institute of Life Long Learning (ILLL) and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).