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Set 042

Indus Culture (Set 1)

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2024
Contents 40 figures
Poses 10 poses
Material Plastic (3-D Printed)
Colours Grey
Average Height 25.5 mm (= 1.84 m)


Nestled in the Indus Valley, mostly in what is modern-day Pakistan, are the remains of an ancient civilisation that is thought to have existed between roughly 3300 and 1400 BCE. As with so many ancient societies, very little is known about this one, and its very existence was not recognised until the 20th century. We don’t even know its name, which is why it is known as the Indus Valley Civilisation, although a reference in a Sumerian text to trade with somewhere called Meluhha has been suggested by some to be speaking of the Indus Valley. Many towns have now been excavated, but again we know none of their names as their script has not yet been deciphered, so the three towns mentioned on the box for this set are, like the rest, merely modern inventions. One of the first to be found, Harappa, is often used to identify this civilisation more conveniently, so we will follow this convention and call them the Harappans.

The Harappans were advanced for their time, with well-organised urban planning and impressive water management. Since no significant literature has been found, and their writing is still a mystery to us, we know almost nothing about their history or how their society was organised. It does appear however that they were lively traders with neighbouring cultures, and the absence of evidence for warfare and civil strife does, perhaps optimistically, imply that they enjoyed a more peaceful life than others in the Bronze Age, although modern interpretations on their supposed ideal existence are pure speculation. However, we do have a number of figurines and images which give us some idea of how the Harappans looked, and based on this we have this set from Linear-A.

To begin with, Linear-A have helpfully identified every figure here, beginning with the first three in our top row, which are merchants. Harappan clothing was mainly simply wrap-around in style, just as it would be for the following millennia, and all these men are suitably dressed. They wear a simple kilt, or a garment that wrapped around the legs and upper body, and one has a further wrap around his torso. Two wear the common turban, and the man holding the scales has his hair in a bun and wears a hand band, which seems to have been common too. The group are perhaps discussing a transaction, and are relaxed and naturally posed.

Next is a servant holding a fan made from palm fronds. He too wears a turban, and also a robe, over which he has a large cape. By contrast, the dancing girl to his left wears no clothing at all, just a large amount of jewellery. This figure is closely based on a figurine discovered at Mohenjo-Daro, and includes the left arm completely covered in bangles that is a notable feature of this girl.

The first figure in the second row is a city guard, holding a spear and dressed in an antariya, a forerunner of the dhoti. He also has a turban and a length of loose cloth draped over his left shoulder for some reason, and he is barefoot, as are all the figures in this set. Next to him is someone labelled as a standard bearer with a religious standard. Nothing is known of Harappan religion, so this must be speculative, but the standard is a pole with an animal totem on top. Since it is often assumed that the Harappans worshiped elements of nature, this seems like a reasonable guess. This man is dressed exactly the same way as the guard.

Finally we have three figures for the elite of society. The first is an ‘aristrocrat’ in a long kilt with a checker pattern, a remarkable necklace and some sort of close-fitting cap. This man clearly attends the Harappan version of the gym as he is very muscular and looks after himself. Next is a ‘noble woman’, bare-breasted and wearing a very short, tight skirt plus lots of jewellery and a headdress that is shown in several figurines of the time. This seems to be based on a statuette of a goddess, and does not seem to us like the way most noble women would have dressed, even in a hot climate, but as we have said, there is far too little evidence to definitively contradict this sort of thing. Finally we have a ‘priest-king’. Since no one knows if Harappans even had kings, or priests, this is pure speculation, and who is to say if they looked like this even if they did exist, but this figure is faithfully based on a small bust excavated from Mohenjo-Daro (pictured on the box), so it is fair to say that someone looked much like this!

All the figures are in passive, standing poses, and as Linear-A say, this is a ‘peaceful’ set. For civilians it is hard to comment of the suitability of any given pose, but all of these are perfectly fine. The sculpting is simply beautiful. These are 3D printed, so there is no flash, no undercutting, no compromises, although the poses make this easy anyway. The merchant holding the scales has his left arm and scales as a separate piece, but the arm fits easily into the cavity at the shoulder, and we found it was easy to glue with ordinary poly cement, making a secure bond. The fan held by the servant is also separate, but this snaps into place and so does not even need gluing. The figures are static, yet beautifully proportioned and entirely nature in stance and appearance. The clothing too is very natural, and of course finer details like the exquisite pair of scales would be impossible with a conventional steel 2-piece mould.

Linear-A like to target the less well-known ancient subjects, and the chances are few people outside of India will have heard of the Harappan civilisation. The tiny amount of evidence means we can claim to know little about how this society functioned, or how its people appeared, but on what evidence there is, this is a pretty good set. Our only reservations are about the scantily-clad ‘noble’ woman, and the amazingly muscular aristocrat and merchant, all of which seem doubtful in our view, and seem clear enough for us to dock the set an accuracy point. However the main accuracy problem is that the male figures average 1.84 scale metres in height, which is over six feet in imperial measurement, and is far too tall for Bronze Age Indians (the average in India even today is 1.72 metres)! However the figures are certainly amazing to look at, and are a great advert for Indian history, which is rich and varied, yet has received so little attention in the hobby in the past.


Historical Accuracy 9
Pose Quality 10
Pose Number 5
Sculpting 10
Mould 10

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