Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Bos Indicus, the zebu

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

Zebus or humped cattle are the typical cattle of the South Asian subcontinent. At present, there are thirty or more zebu breeds in India. The recognized breeds differ mainly in the shape and firmness of the hump, horn size, ranging from long-horned to very short-horned or even almost rudimentary horns, and horn shape, ranging from lyre-shaped through backward and upward swept to straight. This chapter summarizes the main types. The bull likely played a significant role in prehistoric South Asian religion, regarding the many depictions of bulls on objects from the Indus Valley, Pakistan, dated to the late third to early second millennium B.C.E. The great majority of zebu sculptures has the bull Nandi or Vrishan as subject, the personal vehicle of the Hindu god Shiva. The bull is invariably depicted as a young calf. This is especially clear in cases where Nandi figures as part of the divine family.

Keywords: Bos Indicus; Hindu god Shiva; prehistoric South Asian religion; stone sculptures; Zebu; Zebus



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Animals in Stone — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation