Top Ten Venus Figurines

Top Ten Venus Figurines

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       Venus figurines is a term used for a number of prehistoric statuettes of women portrayed with similar physical attributes from the Upper Palaeolithic, mostly found in Europe, but with finds as far east as Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, extending their distribution to much of Eurasia, from the Pyrenees to Lake Baikal. Most of them date to the Gravettian period, but there are a number of early examples from the Aurignacian, including the Venus of Hohle Fels, discovered in 2008, carbon dated to at least 35,000 years ago, and late examples of the Magdalenian, such as the Venus of Monruz, aged about 11,000 years. These figurines were carved from soft stone (such as steatite, calcite or limestone), bone or ivory, or formed of clay and fired. The latter are among the oldest ceramics known. In total, over a hundred such figurines are known; virtually all of modest size, between 4 cm and 25 cm in height. They are some of the earliest works of prehistoric art.

  1. Venus of Willendorf (24,000-22,000 BC)
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    The Venus of Willendorf, also known as the Woman of Willendorf, is an 11 cm (4.3 in) high statuette of a female figure. It was discovered in 1908 by archaeologist Josef Szombathy at a paleolithic site near Willendorf, a village in Lower Austria near the city of Krems. It is carved from an oolitic limestone that is not local to the area, and tinted with red ochre. Since this figure’s discovery and naming, several similar statuettes and other forms of art have been discovered. They are collectively referred to as Venus figurines, although they pre-date the mythological figure of Venus by millennia.
    Links: Top Ten Austrian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Willendorf,
  2. Venus of Lespugue (24,000-22,000)
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    The Venus of Lespugue is a Venus figurine, a statuette of a nude female figure of the Gravettian. It was discovered in 1922 in the Rideaux cave of Lespugue (Haute-Garonne) in the foothills of the Pyrenees by René de Saint-Périer (1877-1950). Approximately 6 inches (150 mm) tall, it is carved from tusk ivory, and was damaged during excavation. Of all the steatopygous Venus figurines discovered from the upper Paleolithic, the Venus of Lespugue, if the reconstruction is sound, appears to display the most exaggerated female secondary sexual characteristics, especially the extremely large, pendulous breasts. According to textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber, the statue displays the earliest representation found of spun thread, as the carving shows a skirt hanging from below the hips, made of twisted fibers, frayed at the end. The Venus of Lespugue resides in France, at the Musée de l’Homme.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Lespugue,
  3. Venus of Moravany (22,800 BC)
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    Venus of Moravany is a small female figurine found by the village of Moravany nad Váhom, Slovakia, in 1938. It is made of mammoth ivory and is dated to the upper paleolith period. It currently resides in the Bratislava Castle exposition of the Slovak National Museum.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Moravany,
  4. Venus of Galgenberg (28,000 BC)
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    The Venus of Galgenberg is a Venus figurine of the Aurignacian. It was discovered in 1988 close to Stratzing, Austria, not far from the site of the Venus of Willendorf. The figurine measures 7.2 cm in height and weighs 10 g. It is sculptured from green Serpentine rock.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Galgenberg,
  5. Venus of Brassempouy (23,000 BC)
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    The Venus of Brassempouy is a fragmentary ivory figurine from the Upper Palaeolithic. It was discovered in a cave at Brassempouy, France in 1892. The Venus of Brassempouy was carved from mammoth ivory and is one of the earliest known realistic representations of a human face and hairstyle.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Brassempouy,
  6. Venus of Hohle Fels (40,000-35,000 BC)
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    The Venus of Hohle Fels is an Upper Paleolithic Venus figurine found near Schelklingen, Germany. It belongs to the early Aurignacian, at the very beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, which is associated with the assumed earliest presence of Homo sapiens in Europe (Cro-Magnon). It is the oldest undisputed example of Upper Paleolithic art and figurative prehistoric art in general.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Hohle_Fels,
  7. Venus of Savignano
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    Description:
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  8. Venus of Dolní Věstonice (29,000–25,000 BCE)
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    The Venus of Dolní Věstonice is a Venus figurine, a ceramic statuette of a nude female. The figure was found at a Paleolithic site in the Moravian basin south of Brno, Czech Republic.
    Links: Top Ten Czech Republic Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Doln%C3%AD_V%C4%9Bstonice,
  9. Sumerian Ceramic Female Figurine (2000-1800 BC)
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    Description:
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  10. Mal’ta Venus (21,000 BC)
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    The Mal’ta Venus is a palaeolithic figurine of a woman, discovered in a cave at Mal’ta, at the Angara River, near Lake Baikal in Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, Russia. It was carved from mammoth ivory. It is on display at the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mal%27ta_Venus,
  11. Venus Roumanie
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    Description:
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  12. Bonus: Venus of Laussel (23,000 BC)
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    The Venus of Laussel is a Venus figurine, a 1.5 foot high limestone bas-relief of a nude female figure, painted with red ochre. It is related to Gravettian Upper Paleolithic culture. The figure holds a wisent horn, or possibly a cornucopia, in one hand, which has 13 notches. According to some researchers, this may symbolize the number of moons or the number of menstrual cycles in one year. Alexander Marshack said about the Venus of Laussel that “One cannot conjecture on the basis of one engraved sequence any meaning to the marks, but that the unusually clean horn was notated with storied marks is clear.” She has her hand on her abdomen (or womb), with large breasts and vulva. There is a “Y” on her thigh and her faceless head is turned toward the horn. The figure was rediscovered in 1911 by J. G. Lalanne, a physician. It was carved into large block fallen in a limestone rock shelter (abri de Laussel) on the territory of the commune of Marquay, in the Dordogne department of southwestern France. It is now in the Musée d’Aquitaine, in Bordeaux, France.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Laussel,
  13. Bonus: Venus of Bouret
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    Description:
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  14. Venus of Hradok (3,000 BC)
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    Nitriansky Hrádok is a district of a town of Šurany, Slovakia. This settlement was annexed to Šurany in 1976. A significant amount of archaeological material have been found at the tell Zámeček (the name means “small castle,” “château”), settlement layers of which trace estimated 5,000 years back. For this reason this place has become known as “Slovakian Troy.” A famous find was a neolithic figurine of sitting woman. It was dubbed Hrádocká Venuša (Venus of Hradok). The figurine is depicted on the 2-koruna coin. In 1997 a monument by Jaroslav Gubric was installed, which is an enlarged copy of the figurine.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Hradok,
  15. Venus of Karanovo
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    Description:
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  16. Westray Wife
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    The Westray Wife, also known as the Orkney Venus, is a small Neolithic figurine, 4 cm in height, carved from sandstone that was discovered during an Historic Scotland dig at the Links of Noltland, on Westray, Orkney, Scotland, in the summer of 2009. It was the first Neolithic carving of a human form to have been found in Scotland and to date it is the earliest depiction of a face found in the UK. A second figurine of about the same size and shape as the Westray Wife, but made from clay, and missing its head, was discovered by archaeologists at the same Links of Noltland site during the summer of 2010. This figurine, 3.4 cm in height, has a rectangular panel decorated with triangles on the front of its torso, which may represent a tunic, and a punched hole in the center of its stomach. A number of small clay balls have also been discovered at the site and it is possible that these were intended for use as heads for similar figurines. It has been noted that the original figure’s eyes bear a resemblance to “eyebrow motif” carvings found in a chambered cairn on the Holm of Papa. Archaeologist Richard Strachan has said: “Initial comparisons do show a similarity in use of this eyebrow motif and may point to the possibility that the markings in the cairn are meant to show human eyebrows and eyes, as the style is very similar to the figurine. Alternatively, we may be seeing the re-use of a motif familiar to the carver and applied to different contexts with different meaning.” Despite the figurine’s name, it not certain that the Westray Wife does represent a female form, as the marks initially interpreted as breasts may in fact represent clothing fasteners and clothing fabric.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westray_Wife,
  17. Venus of Monruz (9,000 BC)
    The Venus of Monruz was created during the late Upper Paleolithic or the beginning Epipaleolithic, dating to the end of the Magdalenian. It is a black jet pendant in the shape of a stylized human body, measuring 18 mm in height. It was discovered in 1991, at the construction of the N5 highway, at Monruz in the municipality of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The “Venus of Engen” is a figurine bearing a remarkable resemblance to the Venus of Monruz. It is also made of jet and also dates to the Magdalenian period. The sites of discovery of the two figurines are about 130 km apart.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Monruz,
  18. Links: Sculptures, Top Ten Paintings by Sandro Botticelli, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Venus_figurines