Venus of Willendorf

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Venus of Willendorf
Venus von Willendorf 01.jpg

Venus of Willendorf or Woman of Willendorf, is an 11.1 cm (4.4 inches) high statuette of a woman or woman-like thing. Someone carved it in prehistoric times, perhaps 30,000 years ago. Archaeologist Josef Szombathy found it in 1908 near Willendorf. The statuette is made of a kind of limestone caled oolite. There is no oolite near Willendorf, so scientists thing someone carried the stone a very long way. The statue is colored with red ochre.[1][2][3][4]Willendorf is a village in Lower Austria near the city of Krems.

A study from 1990 said the statue was made between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE. Scientists think someone in the Gravettian culture carved it using flint tools. A study from 2022 said that the oolite in the statue matched oolite from northern Italy, which means someone must have carried the stone over or around the Alps and Danube river.[4]

The Venus does not look like a real woman. Her private parts, breasts, and large belly are much bigger for her height than they would be on a real woman. Archaeologists think the stone had something to do with fertility. Her tiny arms are folded over her breasts, and she has no face. Her head has what might be coils of braids, eyes, or a headdress. Because she does not have a face, some archaeologists and philosophers say the Venus is a "universal mother."

Some scientists think that the coils of the venus’ hair were meant to represent the cycles of a woman’s period or ovulation.

Some modern analysts don't think the nickname "Venus" is a good choice because the statue is so fat: "The ironic identification of these figurines as 'Venus' pleasantly satisfied certain assumptions at the time about the primitive, about women, and about taste," Christopher Witcombe has noticed.[5] But professionals don't want to call her an Earth Mother goddess of paleolithic Old Europe.[source?] Some say her fatness means she is a high status woman because, in hunter-gatherer societies, only rich women would be fat. That means she could refer to of security and success.[source?]

The statue's feet do not allow it to stand on its own. Due to this it has been speculated that it was meant to be held, rather than simply looked at.

Catherine McCoid and LeRoy McDermott think that the figurines were made by women as carvings of themselves. Most scientists agree that the head, seen from a profile view, while having no distinct facial features, appears to be looking down. When a woman looks down at her own body, the foreshortening effect makes her own breasts and belly look big.

Venus of Willendorf is part of the collection of the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna[1].

Since 1908, archaeologists have found many more statuettes of fat women, like the Venus, so they are called Venus figurines too.

References[change | change source]

  1. Alex Greenberger (March 1, 2022). "Venus of Willendorf's Origins Are Traced Back to Italy, Solving Longstanding Archaeological Mystery". ArtNews.
  2. Mindy Weisberger (March 1, 2022). "Voluptuous 'Venus' of the Ice Age originated in Italy". Live Science.
  3. University of Vienna (February 28, 2022). "Mystery solved about the origin of the 30,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf" (Press release). Eurekalert.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gerhard W. Weber, Alexander Lukeneder, Mathias Harzhauser, Philipp Mitteroecker, Lisa Wurm, Lisa-Maria Hollaus, Sarah Kainz, Fabian Haack, Walpurga Antl-Weiser & Anton Kern (February 28, 2022). "The microstructure and the origin of the Venus from Willendorf". Scientific Reports. 12 (1): 2926. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-06799-z. PMC 8885675. PMID 35228605.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. Christopher L.C.E. Witcombe. "Venus of Willendorf".

Other websites[change | change source]