Saturday, February 12, 2011
Venus Figurines of the Paleolithic World
The famous Venus figurines are widely known in the Goddess and Archeological communities. The great debate over whether or not these figurines of women were looked at as a Mother Goddess, or something else, is still being discussed today. The evidence that these figurines were looked at as representations of a Mother Goddess, is in my opinion, overwhelming. Everything from the exaggerated breasts and belly's of the figures, down to the point that nearly no male figurines have been found. The female figurines outnumber the male by a long shot. Of course, while there were some male statuettes found, the over abundance of female representations simply can't be ignored.
There are many different female figurines that have been found all over the world. Some dating as far back as 35,000 years ago. I will cover two of those figurines with you here. These are the Venus of Laussel, and the Venus of Lespugue .
The Venus of Laussel (pictured left) was found in southwest France and dates back 25,000 years. It is actually a bas-relief carving made of limestone, that was found on a big stone block very near to the prehistoric caves of Lascaux. In the relief, a women is standing nude with exaggerated breasts and stomach, and she is holding a bison horn with 13 notches in it. Many think this represents the menstrual or moon cycles throughout the year. She was lightly painted with red ochre, many of the Venus figurines have had traces of red ochre on them, which is seen as the life giving color of blood. She is pretty featureless besides her exaggerated areas, and she holds her hand over her belly. Some have suggested that this carving might have once stood at the entrance to sacred caves where rituals of fertility took place. Many prehistoric people held rituals in caves, evidence of this comes to us by cave art found deep within them.
The Venus of Lespugue (pictured right) was found in the stone age cave of Les Rideaux in the Haute Garonne region of France. She is carved from mammoth ivory and dates back about 25,000 years ago. This particular female figurine shows the most exaggerated features of any kind, especially her breasts. She is also shown wearing what seems to be a skirt, which is said to be the earliest representation of spun thread. This figurine was actually damaged during excavation and had to be restored.
What I find interesting, is that many of the female figurines, have been found in or near caves. In prehistoric times, tribes people would hold rituals in caves. Many archaeologists believe that these rituals pertained to hunting magic, fertility and initiation. It is said that sacred caves were seen as the womb of the mother. So it would make sense that many of these figurines were found in or around caves. Again relating it all to the Great Mother Goddess figure our prehistoric ancestors revered so much.
For more information on the Venus of Laussel check out Wikipedia
For more information on the Venus of Lespugue check out Wikipedia
To read about more types of Venus figurines check out VisualArtsCork.com
Or to read more about ancient cave ceremonies and artwork check out Wikipedia
Posted by Tara at 2:00 AM